Google’s Picasa – Reviewed

Just about all of us, load personal pictures and images on our computers. For many years, I have been searching for a photo management tool that is intuitive, will allow me to do minor editing, resize the image, easy file management and has syncable cloud storage.  I have been searching for this elusive program since I started putting photos on my computers.  

Finally, I believe that I have found a program that meets my needs quite nicely.  Picasa might be re-branded fairly soon as Google Photo as part of their Google + initiative – but there has not been any official word from Google yet. Either way I have been using Picasa exclusively since I re-imaged my MacBook Pro laptop back on June 25th, no I didn’t re-install iPhoto 11 and haven’t missed it a bit.  Picasa is working quite well for me.

Product Name:PicasaTm
Company Name: Google Inc.
Type: Web Application and Desktop software

Company Product Description

Below are screenshots of Picasa

Picasa Desktop version

Picasa Web Application

How much does Picasa cost? It is a free download and up to 1 GB is free online storage (there are rumors that this may change as Google + becomes open.  I opted for the additional 20 GB online storage.

Is this the first time reviewing this product?I have never reviewed Picasa in depth on my blog, I have mentioned it a couple of times.

Is Picasa easy to use?For the most part, yes.  There are some things that make me scratch my head, but most of what you do in the desktop version is pretty intuitive and I have gotten used to some of those head scratchers and work around them.

What I like

Picasa is free and upgrades to your storage limits are easy and very reasonably priced.

That you can easily upload photos to the Picasa web application.

You can share your photo albums with others if you want to.

I really like that there is a cloud based application, that I can use to back up your photos in a place where they are not likely to be lost, if your laptop crashes, burns, breaks and all those other things that can happen to a hard drive without warning.  I have a feeling that Google is a lot better about backing things up than I am.  Having these photos stored in the cloud also means that I can access my Picasa web application from any computer, device or location, where I have web access.

I like that Picasa integrates easily with Picnik, so that if I need to do a little more editing than the stock editor i.e. resizing or some special effects, it is available. Right now, it is more of a link to a separate web application versus a integrated piece of the tool.

That Picasa images can quickly be added to your blog post by using the Insert Image tool.

What I don’t like:

Sometimes pasting the Picasa URL into a non-Google tools doesn’t work.

When updating my blogger theme (some of the custom images, like the RSS feed button image), when I attempt to host them on Picasa – the URL links do not work, which caused me to use an alternative photo web host account to customize the images in my blog theme.

That re-organizing your Albums on Picasa web is time consuming and a pain in the butt.  I just don’t bother trying to do any re-organizing my photos online with Picasa.

The reality is that

Picasa has become my photo management tool of choice.  It supplanted iPhoto 11, when I used them both for the past three months, it worked the way I do.  I found cumbersome and seemed to bog down my MBP when it was running, the connection to the cloud through Mobile Me was much too expensive for my budget, plus I didn’t want to put my photos on Facebook or Flikr, when I already have lots of room on Google for them.  Picasa is easy to use, does many things automatically and integrates well with my Blogger blog.  I have plenty of storage space for my photos and I can share these with the people that I want to.
Picasa integrates pretty seamlessly with Google +, but you might want to go through and double-check to make sure all of your privacy setting are what you want vs what you though you had them set at when you uploaded them to the web. I noticed that some of my albums were set to public, as part of the move to Google +, or maybe I didn’t correctly label them in the first place. In either case it is better go in and check to see that your photo albums go to the correct circles in Google +, to protect you and those people in your photos privacy.
Overall, Picasa has met my personal photo management needs quite nicely. Better integration with Picnik needs to happen, but that really is a minor point and improvements on being able to utlize the URL more easily would be nice.  Other than those things, I am very happy with using Picasa as my primary personal photo management tool and like how it integrates easily into Google +.

FCC Disclaimer:  I have not received any compensation for writing this review of Google’s Picasa, they are simply my thoughts on a product that I use.