Picasa photo editing software

Important information for Picasa and Picasa Web Albums users: Google shutting down Picasa

picasaFor years I’ve recommended Picasa, the elegant photo organizing and editing software. Here’s my take on this free program that just keeps getting better and better.

picasa-editPicasa seems to be a play on the name of the famous artist, Picasso. If so, it is quite appropriate as the software interface is both artistic and dazzling.

Picasa is a delightfully easy way to organize, edit and share photos. It’s basic, yet goes beyond the basics of the basic photo editing software that is usually bundled with a digital camera.

The tools and filters in Picasa are more limited than a full-fledged photo editing programs. However, if you are a casual photo editor, they are probably more than you’ll ever need.

What I like about Picasa

  • Free and easy to use.
  • Easily upload images and video to Picasa Web Albums, the online web hosting also offered by Google. Web Albums offers one gigabyte of free storage for photos and videos, and can be upgraded at a reasonable price if more storage is needed.
  • Beautiful and elegant interface.
  • Intuitive and straightforward navigation.
  • Non-destructive editing – your original files are preserved as you edit images and edits can be easily undone.
  • Excellent set of easy-to-use editing tools and filters;  you can fade filter effects such as sharpening.
  • Robust set of features including labeling photos with keywords and star ratings, emailing images from within the program, creating videos, Photo CDs and backups and support for RAW files, a Retouch tool to remove unsightly blemishes, face recognition with automatic red-eye removal, and the ability to add text and watermarks to photos.
  • Batch Album upload — upload multiple albums all at once to Picasa Web Albums.
  • Picnik photo editing — now accessed online from within Picasa Web Album through the editing options.
  • Face Movie — create a movie based around a person. The subject’s face stays aligned in one focus area.
  • Geotagging photos using Google Maps, Bulk tagging, quick tags & tag counts.
  • The program can be set to “watch” specified image folders on your computer hard drive and new folders and images can be accessed directly though the software.
  • Organize, rearrange and sync Picasa Web Albums from your desktop.

What I dislike about Picasa

  • Picasa photo viewer – limiting and annoying to use, especially if your main editing program is one other than Picasa.
  • As of this writing, the rating systems (tags, stars and keywords) do not export with images to other programs.

For those who use more robust photo editing programs, such as Photoshop, you’ll probably use Picasa primarily for snapshots.

Download Picasa (PC)Download Picasa for Mac

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