What do Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yogi Bear, and an ant colony have in common?

They all want in on your Picnik.

Google is buying Picnik, the popular online photo editor, for an undisclosed price. The company may be small -- with just 20 employees -- but it's highly relevant to digital shutterbugs. Facebook, Photobucket, and Yahoo!'s (Nasdaq: YHOO) Flickr all have the platform integrated into their photo-sharing sites.

The Picnik blog entry announcing the move indicates that nothing will change with the free service, though one has to wonder how Yahoo! or Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) partner Facebook will take to helping out a Google subsidiary.

This is just the latest of the small deals Google has been brokering lately. With antitrust regulators watching Big G's every move, it has no choice but to settle for nibbles at the tapas bar. The smorgasbord is closed.

This doesn't mean that the Picnik deal is inconsequential. It's not just another cloud-computing tool in the search giant's toolbox, but one that can beef up Google's own photo-editing platform, Picasa.

Digital photography has been a game of hot potato. CNET sold Webshots to American Greetings (NYSE: AM) in 2007. AOL (NYSE: AOL) axed AOL Photos in 2008.

News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) sold a controlling stake in Photobucket in December.

The only companies that seem to stick to their knitting are the ones that specialize in photo-finishing services such as Shutterfly (Nasdaq: SFLY) or the search engines that are in easy reach of online advertisers to monetize the photo sites.

It remains to be seen if Picnik stays independent or is folded into Picasa (or the other way around). Yahoo! eventually realized that there was more brand appeal to Flickr than its namesake photo-sharing site, so it may not be a surprise to see either Picasa or Picnik be phased out eventually.

Either way, it's Google's Picnik basket now. 

Is this a good or bad deal for Google? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still uses Google a lot in his daily life. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.