Picasa is a program that can organize your images from the simplest to the most complex and numerous. Picasa states their program is for mainstream consumers, and indeed, I think Picasa can be used by anyone. I also think Professionals will have a lot to gain by this program as well. Sometimes buying a more robust and featured photo editor that "does it all" can actually turn into a liability, and less of a convenience. The $29 price of Picasa is easily worth its fee, just for the quickness of it and the intuitive interface it provides when organizing your photos and image collections.
Will I use it for all of my photo editing requirements? Of course not. It's unrealistic for a software program to do everything. I've seen so many programs add a ton of new features which just slowed down the operation of the entire program altogether. This in turn made me not use the program at all. Picasa is one of those programs that will fit nicely into my workflow, and that's why I'm sure it will continue to increase in popularity.
- Easily see your entire collection of photos
- Simple but dynamic interface
- Supports a large variety of graphic formats (JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PSD, and GIF)
- Find lost images quickly
- Quickly imports and displays photos from a digital camera
- Expandable with your shooting needs
- Built-In Red-Eye, Crop, Enhancing features
- Very slick export features
- Picasa does not change your original pictures on your hard drive
- Picasa does not change your original folder names on your hard drive
- A "Visually-Centered" software program
- Print, Export, Email, and even order your favorite photos
- Fast search
- Large collections of photos easily handled by Picasa (by large, I mean over 10,000 photos)
- Assign keywords to related images across all albums and folders
- Multiple keywords for multiple images can be done in a single session
- Sort by album Date, Name, or Recent Changes
- Picasa keeps track of albums, changes, edits, and collections within its own system
- Notification of duplicate files
- Automatic Picasa program update feature
- Pleasant and simple Slideshow inferface
- Play MP3 music during slideshows
- Can use with TiVo
- Re-sizable thumbnails for small or large monitors
- A multitude of Picasa Keyboard Shortcuts for even quicker interaction
- Minor issue with reading a particular EXIF line (see Page 4)
- No "undo" feature when using Combine With Next Album or Combine With Previous Album
- Automatically scans "External Drives" such as a Zip Drive (an annoyance if you have a lot of small files on the drive), when you are in Import mode.
- Picture Manager only enables disabling/enabling of physical hard drive connections
Update (April 20, 2005)
- Would like to see more EXIF info available when you right-click on properties, such as ISO, Aperture, and other information
- Show the location (i.e., Hard Drive and area) of the photos being scanned by Picasa
- Introduce a "Burn-To-CD" option
- Allow slideshows from multiple albums
- .NEF, .CRW, .ORF, and other RAW format support--I hear this will be in future versions
- Allow Picture Manager to view ALL drives, whether they be hard drives or external drives.
Since this review, Picasa has been updated to version 2.0, and is now available Free. Google acquired Picasa in July 2004. An update to this review, covering version 2.0, is in the works.