Great news for Chromebook users - free Photoshop on Web coming soon

A screenshot showing the Adobe Photoshop on Web app with a baby elephant
(Image credit: Adobe)

Photoshop’s high price point has scared off a lot of people in the past, but now Adobe is testing a free version of its famed image editing app.

Tech news site The Verge reports Canadian users can try out a free-to-use Photoshop on Web. Adobe apparently wants to make its app more accessible for people and describes the test as a “freemium” service. There are also plans to add new features to subscribers in order to differentiate the paid version from the free one.

Basically, Adobe is creating its own version of Canva, which is a free online image editing tool with its own paid premium plan. Adobe didn’t reveal, according to The Verge, if and when free Photoshop on Web will officially launch or if there are plans to expand the test internationally. 

We reached out to Adobe to see if they would be willing to give us any information on the free Photoshop on Web test but were met with radio silence.

Web-based benefits

Adobe launched Photoshop on Web last October during its Adobe Max 2021 conference. The browser-based app is a stripped-down version of Photoshop on desktop with a bigger emphasis on collaboration. You do get some brushes, layer adjustments, cropping, etc., but you won’t have the full arsenal of tools.

For collaboration, you’re able to add in comments or make tweaks yourself on a work in progress. The idea is that you’re not bombarding the artist with multiple comments on what to change; you can just do it yourself. 

One of the big benefits of Photoshop on Web is that you can use it on Chromebook. Usage on a particular laptop platform may seem arbitrary, but Chromebooks are an important tool for professionals and students. Adobe confirmed in a forum post that the standard, desktop Photoshop application does not work on Chromebooks.

The browser app alleviates that problem. Now you have a version of Photoshop that Chromebook users can use. Currently, you need to pay $21 a month for one device, and if you can’t afford it, you’re out of luck. A free version of, arguably, Adobe’s best app is handy to have.

Analysis: The new freemium

Adobe already has several free app. There's Adobe Express, a design app with a wide variety of tools, but it does lock many of them behind a paywall. There’s also Fresco, which is a drawing and painting app that’s under a freemium model.

It appears that Adobe is going for a baiting approach with its apps: Draw in new users with free versions of its apps while locking the best parts behind a paywall. It’ll be interesting to see if other apps, like Premiere video editor, also get the freemium treatment.

Aside from this news, Photoshop is also getting a new Neural Filter tool to restore old photographs (but it does give them a plastic look).

If you’re interested in trying out free Photoshop alternatives, TechRadar has a list of the best ones for 2022, including the aforementioned Canva. 

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.