Google purchased Nik Software in 2012, and in March 2016 made the plug-ins free for everyone, eliminating the $149 price for the software, which once cost as high as $500: “Today we’re making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free. Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.”
What does all this mean for photographers using the Nik plug-ins—Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine? There won’t be any changes immediately, most likely, but one day when it’s time to update Photoshop and Lightroom or your OS, Nik will no longer function.
If Nik is critical to your workflow, you could dedicate a second desktop to the software and avoid updates. But the bottom line, for photographers, might be to avoid having your workflow dependent on any single element.