Did you know that Snapseed is now integrated into Google+? Once you’ve uploaded your photos on your Google+ account, you can edit them using all the tools that used to be in the Snapseed desktop app, but within the Google Chrome web browser.

Welcome to Part 1 of a 3-part mini-series on the Google+ Snapseed editing tools. The second part will be posted at the same time tomorrow and the third and final part the day after. Part 1 explains how to create a Google+ account, upload your pictures and organise them into albums. Part 2 shows how to use the Google+ Snapseed tools to edit and save your pictures. Part 3 shows before and after examples for five different filter effects, explaining how the tools work and what they do.

Google caused widespread dismay when it bought out Nik Software and then withdrew its desktop Snapseed image-editor. Snapseed combined effective everyday enhancements with some terrific special effects and retro processing looks. It’s still available in mobile versions for smart devices, but that wasn’t much consolation for photographers using regular desktop computers or laptops.

So now it’s back, albeit in a web-only form. It’s amazing that Google should have brought out this feature without making a big fuss over it, but no-one else we asked was aware Snapseed was back either…

If you’re not using Google Chrome already, now is a good time to download Google Chrome and try it out. Chrome is free, and it is a really good browser. Similarly, if you don’t have a Google+ account yet, why not set one up now? It’s free, and it just takes a few minutes.

Here are basic instructions on how to get started with Google+ photos and how to use the integrated Snapseed editor. Google+ is designed as a complete social network, of course, but we’ll stick to the photography tools for this walkthrough.

01 Create a Google+ account

Google+ Snapseed editor

First, go to plus.google.com. If you already have a Google Mail account, you can log in using your existing Google account information. Otherwise, fill in the fields to create your new Google+ account.

02 Google+ photos

Google+ Snapseed editor

You start on the Google+ home screen, which has a row of buttons across the top for displaying your different Google+ ‘circles’. These are like Facebook friends, except that on Google+ you can create different ‘circles’ of friends for different parts of your life.

Anyway, we’re here to look at the photography tools, not the social networking. If you move the mouse pointer over to the top left of the screen and the ‘Home’ button, you’ll see this drop-down menu listing all the Google+ features. If you choose the Photos option (1), the main screen then displays your Google+ photo collection – that’s what you can see on the screen now.

When you’ve got Photos selected, the buttons along the top change to show the photo management tools. As you can see, we’ve already uploaded some photos. To upload more, you need the ‘Upload photos’ button (2).

03 Uploading photos

Google+ Snapseed editor

Uploading photos is easy, and all the instructions you need are displayed on-screen. You can either open a window in your OS and drag images on to the upload window, or use the integrated file browser tool.