Picasa: a rock solid (and free) photo-organizing program from Google

October 29, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More

How do you organize, display and work with thousands of photos when you’re on a budget (or not)? 

My wife and I are raising two children.   When they were 0 and 2 years old (in the year 2000), we bought a digital camera and we started taking lots of photos of them.   How many photos?  An enormous number, given that we delete about 50% of our photos and that we still have 15,000 photos.  How does that happen? You take 20 here and 10 there.  You do it several times per week as your children grow up.  Then, when they get to be five or six, you let them take their own photos.  There’s no expensive film involved anymore, so you can let them go crazy.  Sure, you might find that they took 50 photos of the parakeet, but that’s how they learn.   In the meantime, you need to find a way to organize all of those photos (even after deleting 45 photos of the parakeet).

Until recently, I was using purchased software to organize and work with all of these photos.  For the past four years, for example, I’ve been using Microsoft’s Digital Image Library 9.  It’s a solid program with powerful yet easy-to-use editing.  If you want complete control over your photo-editing, however, you might want to use a more powerful program like Photoshop (or the consumer version, Photoshop Elements).   I was relatively happy with MS Digital Image until it refused to load new photos.  It became utterly obstinate and I couldn’t find any solution for the problem.  I tried many (MANY) things, and nothing worked.  Also, Digital Image had another glitch: the photos wouldn’t go to the folders where I told them to download.  Out of frustration, I started looking around for a photo-organizing program that would work.  I’m delighted with what I found:  Picasa 2.7

Doubtless, there will be professionals out there (and demanding amateurs) who will want some features beyond those offered by Picasa.  For those guys, expensive specialized software awaits.  For the rest of us, there is Picasa.

Picasa is a free program published by Google.  It sets up quickly and allows me to do everything I want to do with my photos.   You can organize them in many ways (by folder, by tags, by rating or by a custom album).  You can view your photos as slide shows.  You can import them from your camera (and they really go to the folder where you assign them).  You can burn the photos to a CD.   You can print them in a variety of ways.  You can view them in a really elegant “Timeline” feature.   Picasa organizes all of your videos along with your photos too.  Basic editing features are provided as well.

I really can’t think of anything more that I need in a photo organizing program.   I can’t imagine having a more user-friendly program. 

It’s difficult to believe that Picasa is free.   It’s really too good to be true.  Here’s where you can download your copy.


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Category: photography

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Miscellaneous | Dangerous Intersection | January 18, 2010
  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    I've been using ThumbsPlus (by <a href="http://www.cerious.com)” target=”_blank”>www.cerious.com) since it ran under DOS 6.2, so I have yet to try Picasa. I admit that I've plunked a couple of hundred dollars into this program for upgrades over the last dozen years, and now have bought into their permanent update program. So it will be free for me from now on.

    ThumbsPlus started as an image cataloging and tweaking program, and evolved into a tool I use for almost all my imaging needs. Sure, I have to go to GiMP for anything involving layers or other really fancy Photoshop tweaks. But this is rare: I don't think I've opened GiMP this year.

  2. Erika Price says:

    Google's all-online word processor Google Docs has gotten pretty rave reviews lately on NPR. Of course, other online word processors exist at this point, too, and they exist for the purpose of collaborative work and storage not tied to any one physical location. It seems that traditional software will soon go by the wayside in favor of these online incarnations.

    (On a slightly different note, Google Scholar, google's search site for peer-reviewed scholarly articles, has come in handy quite frequently as well).

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