Ina Fried

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Adobe Adds Another Photo Sharing Service to Its Carousel

Aiming to evolve its suite of photo sharing and editing tools to a mobile world, Adobe on Wednesday is announcing a subscription service called Carousel.

Carousel, which initially will work on Macs and iOS devices when the service launches later this month, is designed to allow people to access, share and edit their entire photo libraries from all of their devices, though support for Windows and Android isn’t planned until next year.

The $60-a-year service (or $5.99 a month) allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos and have them synchronized to all of their Macs, iPhones and iPads. Adobe will also offer new users a month of the service free to kick the tires.

With a subscription, Carousel users can create up to five different photo collections, each of which can be shared with up to five additional people. Those with whom photos are shared can add photos of their own or edit pictures without needing their own subscription. Individual photos can also be shared through Twitter, Facebook, Tumber or via email.

On the editing side, the tools are a mix of image effects, which Carousel calls “looks,” as well as slider tools for controlling settings such as contrast, white balance and exposure. And no matter what edits are made, the original photo is preserved.

The photos themselves are stored in the cloud as well as, typically, on a primary machine. The Mac version of Carousel creates its own photo library, meaning that users will need a lot of extra hard drive space if they plan to store their full collection of pictures in Carousel.

Carousel is the latest effort by Adobe to create products that work across computers and mobile devices. Earlier this year, the company showed off several tools that aim to allow the iPad to work in conjunction with Photoshop in various ways.

The chief selling point for Carousel over various products from Adobe and others is the fact that the product synchronizes edits and photos automatically. That, says Adobe’s Chris Quek, is what users expect out of mobile photo services.

“It has to work right out of the box,” Quek told AllThingsD. “If it is difficult to set up and doesn’t integrate with the rest of their lives they are not going to use it.”

There are some significant limitations. On the Mac side, Carousel requires Lion — the just-released version of MacOS X. Support on the iOS side is a bit broader, working with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as all iPads and the latest version of the iPod Touch.

Adobe will also find a number of competitors in this area, including Apple’s soon-to-launch iCloud as well as a variety of other photo sharing and editing services.

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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”