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Many of us have been faced with the issue of designing the user experience of service closure: communicating it, explaining the reasons, managing and refunding premium users, facilitating content recovery or transfer, in case of continued service.

This morning I received this official closure announcement from Picnik, a photo-editing service I used sparsely, but always enjoyed a lot. And found it outstanding: graceful, respectful, supportive, generous and engaging. It provides dedicated tools to smooth the transfer process up, offers nearly three month access to try out premium services for free and works as a great invite to explore Google+ (its Creative Kit in particular) and continue enjoying Picnik-like experiences there.

This is a great model to have in mind when “service closure design” is needed.

Official Announcement: Picnik is closing

Since joining Google in 2010, we have been creating editing magic in Google products while continuing to keep Picnik awesome. But now we get to focus on even awesomer things. Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012.

Your photos liberated
Amazing photos are created in Picnik, so we have launched a new feature, Picnik Takeout, that easily downloads your photos to your desktop in convenient zip files. You may also elect to copy your photos to Google+ where you can store and share your creations. You may request your photos at any time and use this handy tool as many times as you like until our closing date of April 19, 2012. Learn more.

Premium Refunds
To our primo Picnik Premium members, we’ll begin processing a full refund of your current membership fee within a week of this announcement. By “in full” we mean the whole darn thing. Yep, this means even if you are on your very last day of an annual membership, we will refund you the entire $24.95. Just because we want to say thanks.

Now the Good News – Free Premium for ALL!
To express our gratitude for your support over the past 5 years, Picnik Premium is free for everyone! Use Picnik in all of its premium glory, for free, from now until our actual closing day. Touch-up, Textures, Advanced, and more are all free for you to use!

We have been incredibly proud of building a product that is used and beloved by so many of you. We continue to be amazed and humbled by the photos you create and we are immensely grateful for all of your support, creativity, and passion.

We are excited by the photo-editing fun we have already brought to Google products, like Google+, where you can find many of your favorite Picnik effects in Creative Kit. We encourage you to visit Google+ and give it a whirl.

Please visit the Help Hub for more information on our wind down, and check the Picnik blog for updated information on our April closure.

It’s been awesome,
Team Picnik

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