Creative Cloud Chronicles: Adobe to Mac Users - No Streaming Photoshop for You!

By Chris Dickman
Founding Editor, Graphics.com

More Creative Cloud Chronicles

Here at Graphics.com we've been wondering for some time when Adobe would make the "Cloud" in Creative Cloud more significant. Back in March we covered the ability of the Mainframe2 service to run Google Earth in a browser, without having to first download and install it. This was part of a series of demos of the Mainframe2 cloud computing platform, which lets users run Windows desktop applications in their browsers, without the need for plugins or other fiddly bits. Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox can all be used to run major applications, with support for all HTML5-compliant browsers, on all operating systems, promised at launch. The demos have included Blender, Autodesk Inventor and even Photoshop, all delivered to the browser as a real-time video stream.

Then in August we looked at graphics firm OTOY, which announced its X.IO App Streaming service. This also ports Windows apps to the cloud, with the statement that it's "built from the ground up to handle the demanding nature of graphics-intensive applications, including image editing, CAD, and 3D modeling and rendering applications." The service sounds promising, with support for printing and peripherals, secured connections, and with claims of round-trip latency averaging less than 50 ms and bandwidth usage below 1 Mbps. But as with all such services, much depends on how close application sessions are to users. X.IO is currently in beta, with a launch planned for later this year. We closed by asking, "So why shouldn't Chromebook users be able to run Creative Cloud apps?"

I guess Adobe was listening, since it has now announced that that very scenario is now a reality. Dubbed Project Photoshop Streaming, the service is now in beta, with the streaming provided by no less than Google. This makes perfect sense for Google, since it's working hard to show that its Chromebooks can be used for serious work. Running Photoshop proves the point so well that it should significantly bump Chromebook sales. Google also wins because Photoshop will work directly with Google Drive, helping legitimize it for creatives.

But was Google the best choice for Adobe? An important point is that Photoshop will also run in the Chrome browser on "any Windows device." That's right, Mac users are out of luck. This is undoubtedly a limitation put in place by Google, which is locked in a bitter battle for world domination with Apple. It doesn't see Microsoft as a threat, evidently. Allowing Google to encourage Photoshop users to save their files with Google Drive, rather than in Creative Cloud, also seems to send a mixed message. But I assume Adobe thought the downside was worth it.

So you're all excited? Whoah there, big fella. The beta program is currently only available to North American education customers with a paid Creative Cloud membership. If you qualify, you can submit an application on the Adobe site.

Photoshop is just the beginning, of course, with Adobe indicating that other products are "coming soon." It can't be soon enough.