Google announced February 12, 2016 that it will be killing Picasa, the much loved, user friendly photo management program. It’s being retired sometime this spring, in favour of Google Photos, their online offering. You can download an app to auto upload your photos to Google Photos but you still have to edit on line. It’s all fine storing on the web, but if you have a largish image, it’s a major pain in the ass editing via your browser. After March 15, 2016, Google will no longer be supporting or updating the program and will no longer offer it for download.
Picasa was brilliant in it’s simplicity. It allowed for some great edits right on the computer with no need to upload anything. I find the newer Google Photos editing a bit clumsy and irksome. It lacks the depth of tools Picasa has and the great ability to create slide shows and share them with none Google users. It does have a button to create animation, which creates a poor man’s slideshow with no way to package and send it. You can share it, by giving access to the album, but you can’t pop it on a usb drive and take it with you.
What got under my skin the quickest is the irritating infinite scrolling design. This is a popular trend in web design I wish would die a grisly death. I loath having to scroll scroll scroll to find something, then scroll scroll scroll to go back to where I was. Worse still? When I scroll half way down my albums, a glitch pops me back to the top when I hit a large file. I discovered if I grab the slide bar on the side and quickly move to the album below the large image, I can scroll up to the photo I wanted to look at. Not very useful.
You can switch to Collections or Albums, which by-passes infinite scroll, but it’s not much better. Everything is crammed together on the screen, with no borders to distinguish where a image begins and ends. It’s not visually appealing or easy to view.
The roll outs for Google Photos will occure over the coming months. Hopefully, the underwhelming edit tools will improve. On the positive side, if you were a Picasa Web Album user, you can continue to use it. Google isn’t going to pull the plug on it. So all that hard work editing them and cataloguing them won’t go to waste. You can also continue using Picasa if you have it installed (or downloaded prior to March 16).
If you don’t like the idea of loading all your photos up to a cloud server, and more importantly, don’t want to pay for extra space, you have options. Most modern operating systems have a decent built in photo editor. Mac’s iPhoto and Windows 10 Photos both do an excellent job. As stated earlier, you can use Picasa as well, it won’t suddenly cease operating. Or you can download any of the numerous free apps out there, including one of the best Fotor for editing.
iPhoto is also an excellent program for sorting photos into albums, something Win 10 recently added. After poking Photos Album features with a big stick for awhile, I’m surprised by how much I like it. It’s easy to sort, move and find similar photos using the built in features.
So if you aren’t keen on storing your life on a cloud server, there are alternatives.
One of my go to apps when I’m in a hurry – Fotor http://www.fotor.com/ app for iPhone, Android, Windows and Mac.
If you are looking for something with a bit more umph than the built in tools, look at Adobe Photoshop Elements. Not free, but worth the money. https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/tutorials.html