Picasa and photo software

I noticed last week that Google has announced an upgrade or relaunch of Picasa, their online picture service. I was wondering whether to try it rather than Flickr. Flickr is very good, in fact brilliant, but you have to have a Yahoo! account to register which I don’t like (as I already have a Google account and a work account and I can’t cope with too many), and also Jenny (i.e. me) has to pay a monthly fee to Flickr to upload her pictures as her digital camera she bought with her pocket money is too good — the resolution of her pictures is such that she could post only half a dozen a month on the free account so she has upgraded to "Pro".

Back to Picasa — the message is, don’t bother. Richard Akerman of Science Library Pad checked it out, as he wondered what Picasa offered that other picture sites (well, Flickr) don’t. Here is his answer.

"Another mysterious unasked-for bit of functionality from Google, perhaps emerging from their now-a-public-company beancounter mentality. For this, they hired a zillion PhDs?

Anyway, Picasa is a great photo organizer for Windows.
Some wonderful features would be:
– make it available on Mac and Linux
– direct upload to Flickr
integration with Google Earth, Google Maps and GPS data for geocoding (UPDATE 2006-06-18: I was wrong – there is a new Tools->Geotag menu that lets you manually geotag using Google Earth.)
– IPTC tags

We got… none of those.
Instead, they have come up with Picasa Web Albums.
Which are web photo albums… 1999 style."

However, after a bit more research, Richard discovered that Picasa does have some integration with Google Earth , albeit manual, as noted in the correction above; he shows an example of a photo from Mackenzie King’s formal garden at Moorside in Gatineau Park. (Susan and Amy, if you are reading this, Richard is a fellow-Canadian).

To return to Flickr vs Picasa, I love the Flickr tagging options. But I get those with the photo album that comes with this Typepad blog, so why Picasa can’t offer tags I don’t know. Richard, in response to my bemused comment on his blog, recommends two other photo sites, PBase and Kodak Gallery, and provides links. Thanks, Richard. All I need to do now is to buy a camera;-)  I have already suggested to Cathy that I might buy her "old" one (it is about 4 years old), as she feels it does not have enough functionality for her. I must stop hankering for the old days of SLR (though I do hear that it is coming back in some kind of digital copy version). As I think I mentioned, my old SLR camera was stolen years ago, so I’ve got by on scrounging family members’ cameras since then.

PS apologies if this posting is a bit staccato — it has been interspersed with about 50 googletalk messages with Jenny, as only one of her friends is currently on msn (which she tells me is much cooler than googletalk).

5 thoughts on “Picasa and photo software

  1. Picasa (the application) does offer tagging of photos, albeit in a non-intuitive way. But it doesn’t transfer those tags to Picasa Web (or at least, it doesn’t display them) and there is no tagging or tag management functionality on the Picasa Web site itself.

  2. I wish I had the computer expertise to follow all of this. I’m afraid I’ll never reach your level, Maxine. (I’ll just let you figure it all out and then I’ll do my best to understand what you’ve come up with!)

  3. Hi Maxine,
    I’ve downloaded and installed the new Picasa and even created a single web album before bedtime rolled around all too quickly (as it does). I wouldn’t say I’ve given it a fair shot yet, so I’m reticent to issue any sort of judgement at the moment.
    But I thought I’d add to your discussion by mentioning Yahoo! Photos that was relaunched recently. Despite owning flickr, Yahoo! are continuing to develop a photo facility on their branded platform.
    Also, I moved to being a paid flickr pro not for the upload capacity but because I wanted to be able to access all of my photos, not just the most recent 200.
    Finally, I read a comparison of flickr and Kodak Gallery (which I use for printing – the printing service is great but my Word it takes ages to upload photos!) on the web a short while ago… but.
    I’ve trawled through my bookmarks etc. and can’t find the piece which suggests I thought it wasn’t worth tagging (hah!). This piece had a simple point though: that each of these sites has their strength for a specific user. So Kodak Gallery is best for prints, and flickr is best for sharing. Picasa is best for organising on your PC, and are trying to be best (I’m guessing) with uploading and downloading – e.g. I upload a picture in London and my Mum can download it in Joburg and get it printed and put it on the wall.

  4. My goodness, Susan, I don’t understand it at all! But I agree it is great to be able to do all this with photos.
    James, that was a really informed and useful summary, thank you. I particularly like the bit at the end about your Mum.
    And thank you, Richard, for the clarification.

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