Picasa isn’t going anywhere. Picasa is software on your computer for working with the photos on your computer. It’s freely available at picasa.google.com and, once you have it, it is yours to keep. Millions of people praise Picasa for being easy to use and allowing them to do things with their pictures that they never thought possible all with a click of a button or a drag of a slider. What makes us Picasa users nervous is the fact that Picasa has not changed in several years. Google owns Picasa and Google changes stuff constantly! So what’s the deal? They are clearly neglecting Picasa. Google is living in a world devoted to mobile devices and the Internet. Computer software like Picasa just isn’t sexy any more. Google Photos is sexy.
Google Photos is big news.
Google Photos gives smartphone and tablet users a way to store all their pictures, in almost full-resolution 16 Megapixels, in their Google account online. Simply download the Android or Apple iOS Google Photos App and turn on the setting for Backup and Sync. From now on, every picture you take with that device will be uploaded to your Google Account. Then, you can view them online with any device or computer browser. You can edit them and share them also. So, Google Photos is online photo management for your mobile devices.
What about the pictures that are stored on your computer? Ones that were not taken with your smartphone or tablet? You can install the Auto Backup app for your Mac or Windows computer as well. Then, all the photos on your computer are uploaded to your Google Account as well. Now you have one place for all your photos, whether they were taken with a mobile device or a regular camera and stored on your computer, they are now ALL in the cloud – in your Google Account.
A while back Google bought a photo editing product called Snapseed (by Nik software) and it became a Google product. Snapseed technology is used to edit your picture online when you click the pencil icon. In the Android Google Photos App, you can tap the menu and “Edit in Snapseed.” They are using the Snapseed tools for online editing rather than Picasa because Picasa’s technology does not translate well to web-based tools.
Picasa is Still the Best Software for Working with Pictures on your Computer
Picasa still does just exactly what it has always done. It is software on your computer (Windows or Mac) that works with the pictures that are on your computer. You can improve the pictures on your computer with various Picasa editing tools. No Internet needed. You can crop, color correct, add frames and add text. You can make collages. You can print. You can add captions and then use search to find pictures on your computer based on those captions. Picasa can help you organize your pictures into named folders, or dated folders. Picasa has tools to add tags to pictures and to view groups of pictures together in Albums.
Picasa works together with Google Photos – sort of
Picasa has always had a button to Upload pictures to online albums. It was first called simply, “Upload” and pictures were sent to Picasa Web Albums. Then Google upgraded Picasa to work with Google+ and the button changed to “Share on Google+.” That upgrade also gave us the option to upload at a size called “Best for Sharing” and get unlimited free online storage at that size. The “Best for Sharing” size was defined as 2048 pixels on the longest side. If you had a picture 2048X2048, that would be 4.2 Megapixels. Today, if you use the “Share on Google+” button, the pictures will be sent to your online Google account – the same place used by Google Photos! But, until Picasa is updated, the pictures will be limited to 4.2 Megapixels instead of the new 16 Megapixel size.
So far, Google has neglected to update Picasa to the new 16Megapixel size for uploads. They are allowing Picasa to become an orphan. I still expect the update to happen, but I don’t know when. Meanwhile, I’ll use Picasa to upload my pictures to my Google account in the 2048 pixel size. That’s plenty big enough for online viewing.
For the time being, I am perfectly happy with this photo workflow:
- Use the Google Photos App on my Android and Apple iOS mobile devices. I can edit right on my phone or tablet if needed. I can view my entire online library of photos as well as the photos on my device from the Google Photos App.
- I use Dropbox to transfer the full size picture from my phones and tablets to my computer. There, they are added to the original photos taken with my “good” DSLR camera as well. A complete library of my original-size photos on my computer.
- Google Photos Auto-Backup is installed on my computer and it automatically uploads ALL my pictures to my Google Account in 16 Megapixel “High Quality” size. A complete library of all my photos online, including all photos that were uploaded during 2006-2012 in the Picasa Web Album days, AND 2012 – 2015 in the Google+ Photos days. They are all available to me at photos.google.com
- I use Picasa to view, edit, caption, and tag photos on my computer, then I use the Picasa button called “Share on Google+” to upload my best photos to named albums in my Google Account. I can see these albums at photos.google.com –> Collections –>Albums. I can also see them using my Android or Apple devices and the Google Photos App.
I am still expecting the update to Picasa that adds “Upload to Google Photos at 16 Megapixels.” But, if it never comes, I’m still good with using Picasa as is.