Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Picasa is up to version 3

As I have stated on numerous occasions, my primary program for web work is Picasa, a free organizer and image manipulator from Google. While I use other porgrams and lean toward making Adobe's Lightroom my main platform, I will continue to advocate the incredible value of Picasa, because for the most part, it is indeed most what most people need. It's flexibility is more than adequate, it's organizer works well and has some powerful features, and program's integration with Google's other projects seamless.

A barge on Seine river in northern France

It may well be, that the ease of exporting images to blogs, emailing them etc. is the main reason program has good following. What I think it "downgrades" in many minds, is it's free and no-strings-attached approach. No need to argue my no-strings-attached clause. No doubt Google counts on users to engage in some paid services, but the fact is:

1. you're not obligated to do so

2. you can go away any time you like

The bottom line is simple. Picasa has enough features to organize all of your images quickly and efficiently. It gives you many tools to "beautify" your images. It has an easy learning curve for absolute majority of tasks, although if you're used to another program it may take a little to grasp the interface. PLUS, it is almost bullet proof for emailing images that aren't too big (once an outgoing image size is set, it stays that way until you change it).

Now, how many times have you received a vacation shot from a friend or family member, that was in a full blown pixel count? Did you have a slower connection as you were trying to open it? Did you, by any chance, try to view it on a smaller resolution screen and all you could see was a fraction of it? (Sure, if your browser/viewer is set right, it will automatically down-scale the image to screen size, but that's not the point). Or perhaps, why email a large file to begin with?

Pixel count of today consumer cameras is way beyond the need already (too bad, but later on this issue). It will (unfortunately) continue to grow, because manufacturers fail to teach the general user about where the technology should go, instead they fight each other on pixel battle ground. As things are today, we're already receiving pics in 5Mb range or larger, only to view it on a computer screen (in which case 50 kB would more than suffice). It may seem I'm spending too much time bragging about what Picasa can do for you in this matter. The truth is, it does. Is it the only program that does that? Of course not.

Picasa is now in a beta version 3. If you install it in the same folder as a previous version, it will automatically overwrite it (and you won't even know it). I have switched to version 3 and it appears stable, so I see no trouble here. What are the improvements? You can live with the still available version 2.7, but as everything else you get extras in ver. 3.

Best place to start is Google's own account of changes and enhancements. In addition you should visit Picasa Help Group , as this is by far the most authoritative place for anything Picasa related.

There is one thing that keeps people's interest in a hobby. That is the level of satisfaction they get from it. Picasa gives you many easy to use tools, to change the look of what you took. It may or may not succeed in keeping your interest in digital photography. But if Picasa does not, I'd look for another hobby. Even, if you consider picture taking as a social necessity, you're still in need of a program to put all those digital files in sinc. Picasa is a quick and effective way of doing either.

Download Picasa and have fun. Sky is the limit and it is NOT an oxymoron.

No comments: