Picasa – Still The Best & Most Versatile Photo Manager Available

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photo managerHow many photos would you say you have? More than a hundred? Six hundred? A thousand? Pictures are a big part of all of our lives, but there is else something which is equally important and that is where those precious pictures are stored. You likely keep the majority of them on your computer (although more and more, we are relying on smartphones). Either way, it’s nice to have them on the computer eventually.

But what happens when you add them to your computer? Do you organize them? You should. But even if you do, it can be a hassle to view and manage all your photos. Thankfully there’s Picasa, which you’ve likely heard of, but do you use it? And if you do, are you aware of all that it can do?

Key Features Of Picasa

  • Photo management
  • Importing
  • Auto detection
  • Easy photo editing
  • Cloud sync & sharing with Google Photos
  • Facial recognition

photo manager

Photo Management

This is, first and foremost, Picasa’s number one focus and strength. Along with managing photos, Picasa can manage videos too, but the majority of the features are tailored to images.

The folder structure on the side is adjustable between a tree style and flat structure. In the center, you can easily scroll up and down scanning through the images. Of course there are several features that you can use too, such as playing a slideshow, creating a photo collage or making a movie presentation.

photo manager picasa

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Importing

Picasa can import for any device connected to the computer, whether it’s a camera, webcam (taking a photo), a scanner or an external hard drive. The nice thing is there are fields in the bottom left corner which allow you to quickly add where you want to save the files instead of just dumping them in the same folder which you did last time and telling yourself that you need to sort through it all some time.

photo manager picasa

Auto Detection

One of the greatest things about Picasa is its ability to monitor and automatically add any new files in folders which it searches. Any time there is a change to a file or a file is added, it immediately adds the photo or video to the library. To set this up, go to Tools > Folder Manager.

photo manager picasa

On the left column you will see the folders and their status. The blue circle arrow means it is always scanning the folder and importing the designated file types that you have given Picasa permission to associate with (to change what file formats Picasa is associated with, go to Tools > Options > Files Types).

Back to the Folder Manager, the green checkmark means it was scanned once and a red “X” means it isn’t being monitored or that it will be removed from Picasa. You can see in the Watched Folders box which folders you are having Picasa monitor.

Easy Photo Editing

For a photo manager, Picasa has killer photo editing tools. There are many features, so it would be impractical to touch upon them all. Also, they are quite straightforward so all you would have to do is experiment with the different tools – there’s always the “undo” button if you mess up.

Below is an example of what a photo editing job in process might look like. There are two of the same photos side by side, allowing you to compare the different effects and decide which one fits best. The left bottom corner shows the photo information and what the exact camera settings were for that image.

best photo manager

Cloud Sync & Sharing With Google Photos

best photo manager

Not only does Picasa manage all your photos, but it also connects to the cloud – your Google account – so you can backup and sync your photos right to your Google Photos account online. Since everything is so integrated, it is also quite easy to post photos in Google+. In fact, Google Photos is in Google+, but your privacy settings determine who sees what.

best photo manager

After you adjust the settings on the album in Google Photos, you will also be prompted to post the photos and add something about them. Of course you don’t have to do this, but it’s a nice way of letting your followers know about the new pictures.

Facial Recognition

Speaking of followers, if you have images of friends who you have as Google contacts and/or Google+ followers, the facial recognition feature will detect their face and clarify if it is them. Pretty neat actually!

photo manager

Conclusion

The features above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are even more like Geotagging and Batch Edit, but what really impresses me besides the big features, are the little things throughout it that are just done right. Google is consistently improving Picasa, so you know it’s going to be around for a while. In my opinion, there really isn’t anything that lines up with Picasa in terms of quality, features and price.

Do you use Picasa? If so, how has it helped you? What do you think about the Google+ integration? Please share any other thoughts you might have on it as well!

Download Picasa to start managing your photos and let us know what you think!

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23 Comments - Write a Comment

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bonioloff

Great apps, I use it for my photo management too..
Maybe i can add one more feature :D (Maybe just for me), Picasa also a great photo viewer, i use it as my default photo viewer, because it is fast.. Double click the photo and it shown directly, almost no lack, it is simple and its zooming function that just great, it can also rotate the photos directly for a better view when needed even you capture the picture in the wrong way, i mean landscape to portrait and vice versa, i think it can recognize face position rotate it to correct the view directly.

I am not a good photo collector that need good photo management app or photographer that use intense photo editing, but i can say you this one is perfect app if you need a light weight photo viewer.. :D

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AriesWarlock

I like it but I prefer Windows live photo gallery.

Ahmed Khalil

i suggest to give it a try then you can decide which is the better

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HannibalCat

It is my first and usually only choice for photo management. The latest version does seem to have done away with some of the tools to edit photos, though. Lots of frivolous filters, but I can’t find a way to sharpen any more?

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Kelly Buchanan

I haven’t found anything to make me switch.

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Laga Mahesa

ACDSee 3.1 ftw

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Yashodhan Bhatt

True post!! Picasa is a good known software for elementary level photo editing and retouching..Good job Aaron..

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Nicky Angel

I love Picasa.

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Mitesh Budhabhatti

I am a Fedora user.. bit frustrated with google.. It claims to be a staunch supporter of open source and free software. But at the same time it does not support Drive and Picasa on linux.. But I do away with that. What is the better alternative to picasa on linux?

macwitty

XnView is a free software to view, organise, edit, convert graphics and photos files or to create slide show, contact sheet, HTML pages. Windows/Linux/MacOSX
http://www.xnview.com/
A great one where you also can edit Exif, Iptc …

UbuntuGuy

Definitely needs a native Linux app. C’mon Google. Sure there is a faux Linux version that runs in it’s own Wine but you cannot import videos and it seems a bit buggy to me. Digikam is also a great alternative. http://www.digikam.org/

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GrrGrrr

I would not put my pics online, especially Google powered Picasa, as they could land up in Google search.

If i need to share pics, I use Dropbox sharing feature.

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Howard

I have also tried fotobounce and have found that its facial recognition is superior to picasa. However the managing and handling of faces/people once found is much easier with picasa.

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Rob Hindle

There is no “best photo manager”, individual requirements will vary, however Picasa does a great job for your average digital camera user, loads better than most camara makers bundled software. When we come onto pro-photographers with high end cameras, they probably want to have something more like Photoshop. If you need photoshop capabilities without the rather substantial cost then GIMP may be good enough. And while photoshop/gimp are powerful editors you still need to think about what’s best for local and web storage/sharing of photos

One thing for new users to look out for is that when first installed, unless you tell it otherwise, it may scan your entire disk for photos and find all kinds of forgotten corners (I installed it for a friend and it found some she may have preferred me not to have seen!).

Also something potentially confusing happened with the online galleries. Recently (like sometime in the last year) they started to show up in a different layout as Google+ galleries. That was kind of OK because they look more modern but there were functions missing as compared with the older Picasa galleries. For example initially Google+ didn’t offer a slideshow option (either that feature did arrive very soon afterwards or it was always there but I’d failed to find it).

I go hiking quite a lot and in the Picasa gallery I could mark photo locations on a map and (last time I tried) I couldn’t find that capability in Google+.

I guess the aim is that Google+ will eventually do everything Picasa could plus some. For now there is a fix. If you view your Google+ gallery the address will be like plus.google.com/photos/xxx/albums?banner=pwa (where xxx is a very long number).

If you go instead to picasaweb.google.com/xxx?noredirect=1 (replacing xxx with that very long number) you see the older style interface.

You may also see a button on whichever version you are looking at offering to switch to the other view.
By the way, someone grumbled Picasa online about making the photos public. No you have control of whether they are public or you can choose who to share with.

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Vishal Mishra

Yes it is one of the best photo manager for an average user.

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Srinivas N

It has many tools for editing. Best choice for newbies to try out experiments and forget not great viewer. It is very responsive

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macwitty

Do anyone know if it is possible to sync the database between different computers (mac) to be able to see your whole collection even if the originals are on different computers?

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Sandra Matson

I must try this. Have used Flickr and I hate it. I am looking for easy.

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Nikhil Tom

Is there a portable version availiable?

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Shakirah Faleh Lai

One of the coolest photo manager I’d used.

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druv vb

I use XnView for browsing and searching through my large collection of photos. But for managing them, folders and filenames are the best rules to follow!

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Nikhil Chandak

yea
still the best !!
I downloaded the latest version of Picasa in my laptop and it was amazing ..!!!!!!!
an amazing way to see the pics …
could do editing also ..!
:D

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harley

Picasa is a very good photo editor as well as organizer.

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