Google acquires video and photo editing startup Fly Labs

Google has acquired Fly Labs in a move that will likely see the startup’s media editing technology be integrated into the Google Photos app. Fly Labs announced the move on its website, saying that it’ll be “pouring the same passion into Google Photos that we poured into [its apps] Clips, Fly, Tempo, and Crop on the Fly.”

In honor of this announcement, Fly Labs revealed that all of its apps will now be “completely free with no in-app purchases” and will be available in the App Store for the next three months. However, after that, they’ll no longer be available for download (but you can still get them on Google Play).

The addition of Fly Labs’ technology will boost Google Photos, giving it a more robust media-editing capability to help in its rivalry with Instagram and other photo-sharing services. And in order to further entice its 100 million monthly active users to keep using the app, there has to be more features. Doing so will also help Google sell more storage space through its cloud offering.

Designed to provide apps that will help make mobile photos and videos not as boring, Fly Labs is a product of the New York City tech scene. Its chief executive Tim Novikoff sought to create an easy way for content creators to easily apply filters for video in a way that generates clips and makes videos more shareable.

But what’s surprising is that an iDigitalTimes piece revealed that Fly Labs didn’t originally target the Android ecosystem — it wanted to remain solely on the iOS side. “iPhone users appreciate great design more than Android users do,” Novikoff said in an interview. “iPhone video tech is what we’ve become experts at.” So while Android once wasn’t of interest, now it’ll be the only interest as Fly is forced to pull its apps from the App Store.

In the company’s announcement post, it boasts that its video editing apps help users stay more connected with their memories by “engaging with them creatively.” Its apps have been downloaded more than 3 million times in just the past 18 months, and in total, more than 20 million videos have been created.