OK, I am awed by Picasa. Well, it’s more like I’m blown away….and to top it all off, it’s free!
Picasa is to photos what iTunes and iPod are to music. Now I understand why Google’s stock is rising through the roof. First, Picasa is a photo manager. Once you download and install (quick, less than a minute for me), it automatically pulls in all photo files on your harddrive, categorizes them by year and folders. You can instantly view thumnails of all photos, and drop and drag between folders for better organization. And that’s just file management…
Picasa also offers some basic photo editing tools such as crop, redeye, special filters, resizing, etc. I really liked the Timeline option–you can view folders of photos in a graphic timeline. The drag and drop interactivity, and display of information itself, mimics Mac. No stiff PC-like useability in this product (and I ran it on a PC). If you are using Photoshop Elements, I’d suggest checking out Picasa as an alternative; it offers so much more!
What else? Well, you can create instant slideshows, publish to the web, prepare folders of files to order online (your choice of various services). I chose to create a photobook of 35 photos from my kids’ summer activities. I was able to edit the layout, put in captions, choose a cover and title–all for the cost of $12.95 on Shutterfly.