What Is Picasa?

Category: Software

Picasa is a free photo editing and management application offered by Google. It offers many photo editing, organization and online storage features that photo buffs will find useful. Here's my review of Picasa...

Picasa Photo Software

Picasa - Free Photo Editing and Management Software

If you're into photography as a hobby, and you're looking for software to help you manage and edit your photos, Picasa is a free tool you should check out. Picasa consists of a desktop program that you must download and an optional online storage and display service.

The Picasa desktop app features automatic scanning of one's drives for photos and grouping of similarly named photos into virtual folders; that is, the photos appear on screen in "folders" labeled "CompanyPicnic" but remain physically right where they are. Picasa even has a facial recognition feature that effectively says, "Oh, look, there's Sis, we'll put this pic in the 'Sis' folder." You can add tags to photos to group them under Picasa, too.

Having experimented with Picasa a couple of hours, I must say this automated grouping does not work very well for me. Photos end up in unexpected and undesired virtual folders, actually more confusing than the familiar disk folders in which I have them stored. Editing tags and other metadata so that photos appear where I want them was rather tedious.

Picasa's photo editing features include red-eye reduction and color enhancement as well as standard features such as cropping, resizing, adjusting contrast and brightness, etc. You can also make slideshows and arrange photos in a timeline display. Picasa supports a number of online photo printing services as well as standard desktop printing.

Search, Tag and Upload With Picasa

You can search by keywords in the Picasa search bar, which will search filenames, captions, tags, folder names, and other metadata associated with a photo. Much like Google Search, Picasa supports Boolean operators so you can specify search strings such as "Brad but NOT with Sue OR dog." This can help you find exactly the photo you have in mind among hundreds of photos of Brad.

Geotagging, or associating a photo with a location such as Yellowstone National Park, is supported in the Windows version of Picasa but not on Mac platforms.

Picasa Web Albums are the online photo-sharing component of the Picasa application. Similar to Flickr or Photobucket, Web Albums let you upload photos from your desktop, phone, and other sources to public or private albums. Up to 1 GB of storage space is provided free of charge; if you need more photos online, you can lease up to 6 TB of storage space. That's enough space for about 6 million photos in 5.0 megapixel format. Web Albums have a "Blog This" feature which enables one to easily post a photo stored in Web Albums to a blog posting.

The Picasa desktop app comes in various flavors for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Linux version requires Wine, a Windows emulation program that lets Windows programs run under Linux; Wine is bundled with the Picasa Windows app for Linux users to download.

Overall, Picasa is a good photo editing, organizing, and online distribution application. In my opinion, it strives to do many things and ends up doing some of them imperfectly. But I have a couple of friends who are really into photography, and they rave about Picassa. So there's no doubt it can be a useful tool for shutterbugs, Web designers, bloggers, and others who work with digital photos. You might also want to check out some other article where I discuss Photo Editing Software, and Online Photo Editing.

Got something to say about Picassa or other photo management software? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "What Is Picasa?"

Posted by:

11 Dec 2009

I have a love/hate relationship with Picasa, but have been using it for at least a year. If you take it for what it is, it's great. I too like my folder organizations. What picasa does very well is provide a easy to use basic photo editor and viewer/printer.

The problem is that these edits don't actually take real world effect until you make it write them, so a photo cropped in picasa will still look un-cropped in anything else unless you make it write it. Also if you make it write it, the program will keep the original photo in case you want it back.

Now for basic editing and viewing it works pretty welll. Also it has a handy interface for printing up photos. Another very useful feature is exporting. You can select a group of photos and export them to say 640x480 with one command. Nice. Instant web shots.

It also has a simple viewer portion that is much better than the stock windows one and acts as a front door for the main program.

All and all it's very good so long as you can clearly see where the bathwater stops and the baby begins.

Posted by:

Doug Rosbury
03 Jan 2010

I'm having trouble with picasa. The shop(for
photo printing services) presents a blank page and picasa will not transfer photos from my camera.

WHY???-----Doug Rosbury

Posted by:

25 Jul 2011

Thank you foryour info. On Picasa. First I had to modify some settings so my computer advise "wehn switching between Secure and non-secure:. Now to my point. Picasa: Like. when I click Web Albums, I get the dialog box messge: YOuar entering a non-secure world, (everyone will seee your work, it can be stolen, available tothe world forever) Do you still wish to Proceed. Parenthesis, mine. So wht about this? What's going on here? So, is Picasa SAFE? in the "on-line Web albums" fatures? Pleae advise.

Posted by:

08 Dec 2011

I began using Picasa six months ago, and am very impressed. For a free program, it's excellent value!
It's easy to use, crop, refine, but it does have some limitations. For example, a cropped image cannot be enlarged back to screen size, so if you run it in a video the image suddenly stands out with grey filling in the cropped area.
But for most users, it's quick and easy to use.

Posted by:

19 Sep 2012

My picasa account shows up on Google! So do my personal pictures! Can you please remove them!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ummm, no! Why would you think I have anything to do with your Picasa account?

Posted by:

30 Nov 2012

Picasa loads all the pictures in my computer as soon as I install it. How can I prevent that and allow only what I choose to go there?
Thanks, Phil

Posted by:

01 Jul 2013

When I open my Picasa it only stays open for a few seconds and then shuts down. What can I do?

Posted by:

Sandy Papavasiliou
26 Jul 2013

Iam a volunteer computer tutor with Australian 'Broadband for Seniors' - a govt initiative. I requested they load the computers supplied at the many kiosks, with Picasa. The oldies wanted to know how to upload photos from cameras and make them look good. Not being able to put their own disc in made it difficult. Picasa has such a simple action for uploading their photos from any camera that it was my top suggestion for the amateur computer user.
Unfortunately it is not so kind when dealing with iphones or smart phones. To get around this, I have to email the photos from their phone, save the photo when it arrives to My Pictures or Desktop, open Picasa and let it load from there.
Does anyone have another way around this?

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