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Picasa 2 Released
January 18, 2005 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Picasa 2 Google's entry into the world of photo sharing and management has been released to the world... and it's totally free. Back when Google acquired Picasa, I heard a lot of "it's a total ripoff of iPhoto" well, folks, this version can do things that Photoshop can't even do, to say nothing of how it outshines iPhoto.
posted by coldon (61 comments total)

 
I'm not sure I'm right about this, but in my recent battle with spyware things seemed to indicate that the program Hello, which was a Picasa version that uploaded photos to your blog, was either being exploited or was itself a spyware carrier. I arbitrarily got rid of it, but you might just want to be cautious and do a little homework before downloading.
posted by Miko at 9:20 AM on January 18, 2005


Please describe the things that it can do that Photoshop cannot.
posted by boymilo at 9:26 AM on January 18, 2005


Outshining iPhoto seems like a moot point when it's PC-only.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:30 AM on January 18, 2005


I just looked at the features and I think Adobe's Photoshop Album 2.0 does the same, and to me offers a better interface. I like the way Photoshop Album allows me to tag things, I know Picassa labels things too but there's no compelling reason for me to switch from Photoshop Album to Picassa
posted by riffola at 9:32 AM on January 18, 2005


One thing iPhoto can do that Picassa can't: rearrange your photos into its own inane, inscrutable file structure.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 9:40 AM on January 18, 2005


System Requirements

Picasa 2 requires:

* PC with 300MHz Pentium® processor and MMX® technology.
* 64 MB RAM (128MB Recommended)
* 50 MB available hard disk space (100MB recommended)
* 800 × 600 pixels, 16 bit color monitor.
* Microsoft® Windows 98, Microsoft® Windows Me, Microsoft® Windows 2000, or Microsoft® Windows XP.
* Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5.01 or better (6.0 recommended). If at any time you get an “unable to authenticate” error, you should upgrade to IE 6.0.
* Microsoft® DirectX 7.0 or higher (8.1 ships with XP, 9.0b recommended).

* Optional: 56K Internet connection speed or better (for access to any online services and picture sharing via Hello).


It's a real shame that google are making this reliant on a browser with a declining market share. Is there no possibility of some Mozilla clones, with the appropriate extension maybe, being invited to the party? Seems like the early adopters (who often are the same people that, er, choose other than Microsoft failware) may avoid this wee giftie.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2005


this is an awesome piece of software. thanks for the link.
posted by Gankmore at 10:25 AM on January 18, 2005


...rearrange your photos into its own inane, inscrutable file structure.

Hear! Hear!

Just to veer slightly off-topic, why can't iPhoto simply import photos into its library and leave them where I choose on the harddrive in the same way iTunes lets me decide how I want my music organized?
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:26 AM on January 18, 2005


It's a troll.
It's a FPP.
It's a troll AND a FPP!
posted by spock at 10:40 AM on January 18, 2005


Picasa doesn't seem to do half of what Flickr does - and it works fine on any platform.
posted by luriete at 10:41 AM on January 18, 2005


Did they get rid of the picasa.ini files that get dropped everywhere?

Did they make it so that tagging photos with keywords doesn't blow goats? Photoshop Album is so much better at this that they should just rip it off. Or rip off flickr.

How about that crappy scroll bar re-implementation?
posted by smackfu at 10:43 AM on January 18, 2005


Flickr only lets you have 100 photos unless you're willing to pay for it. That's a bit of a crippling drawback.
posted by smackfu at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2005


Slightly off-topic: When using Hello to send/share photos with others, do both parties need the Hello software installed?
posted by DBAPaul at 10:47 AM on January 18, 2005


Photoshop Album - $49.95
Picasa 2 - priceless.

Photoshop (full version, not Album) can't upload photos to your blog, get rid of red eye easily, or make collages.

I was just getting down on PCs for not having software that was on the same level as the software that comes standard with a typical Mac. However, I've been realizing that while that's true, there is a vast selection of free software that does the job as well, if not better. I'm back to feeling ambiguous about both systems again. w00t.
posted by mullingitover at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2005


BTW, AFAICT, Photoshop Album is a dead product, and the functionality has been rolled into the latest version of Photoshop Elements.
posted by smackfu at 10:50 AM on January 18, 2005


i don't know that i'd say that photoshop and "comes standard" with a mac, you have to buy it. or steal it from the internets. i've been using flickr, "pro" (paid for account), and i love it. no storage limit - yeah 4 mega pixles!

go tags.
posted by folktrash at 11:00 AM on January 18, 2005


I like Picasa 2...it's a big improvement over 1.
posted by rushmc at 11:02 AM on January 18, 2005


DBA Paul: yeah, both parties need hello. You don't seem to be able to do a Hello to AIM or other service. It's worth the hassle though, I've been very impressed with it so far.
posted by Gankmore at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2005


lovely as usual!
posted by mrplab at 11:14 AM on January 18, 2005


Please describe the things that it can do that Photoshop cannot.

I second that. Photoshop is pretty...robust, in my view. I'd love to hear what Picasa can do that Photoshop cannot?

get rid of red eye easily, or make collages

Sweet! Now that I can easilly make collages with my photos, all I need is a toaster I can wear on my wrist and my life will be complete.
posted by tpl1212 at 11:18 AM on January 18, 2005


When using Hello to send/share photos with others, do both parties need the Hello software installed?

Yes, and as for the 'spyware' comment earlier, I've had no problem with it in the 6 or so months I've been using it.

I also second the comment by rushmc, Picasa 2 is way better than 1.
posted by kamylyon at 11:23 AM on January 18, 2005


wrist toasters
*grins*
posted by kamylyon at 11:26 AM on January 18, 2005


I like this.
posted by mr.marx at 11:40 AM on January 18, 2005


Where can I buy this iToaster? Link?
posted by crazy finger at 11:54 AM on January 18, 2005


I'd love to hear what Picasa can do that Photoshop cannot?

Keep $600 in your bank account.
posted by Mick at 12:02 PM on January 18, 2005


What can a Hyundai Elantra do that the Space Shuttle Discovery cannot?

Keep $1 billion in your bank account.
posted by crazy finger at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2005


Reminds me of an Onion headline: "Photoshop Bought."
posted by fungible at 12:18 PM on January 18, 2005


this version can do things that Photoshop can't even do

WTF? You, of the massive balls, please explain.

rearrange your photos into its own inane, inscrutable file structure.

iZing!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:25 PM on January 18, 2005


<shamelessplug>

If you like Picassa's combined organizer/editor/sharing facilities my company, HeyPix!, recently launched a product that has a fairly feature rich organizer and allows you to share photos online, post photos to blogs, establish a community etc.

Anyone who is interested can email me and I would be happy to provide a free promotional code that will let you upgrade to a premium account. ( My address is efriedman at winduplabs.com)

</shamelessplug>
posted by ef2b at 12:26 PM on January 18, 2005


Is anybody still using ACDSee, or have we all given up on that?
posted by muckster at 12:35 PM on January 18, 2005


ACDSee 2.43, representin'.
posted by smackfu at 12:52 PM on January 18, 2005


Muckster, I was about to ask the same thing. I've set up new XP PCs for several friends recently, and they all have bizzare payware image editors preinstalled. That is, they can view JPEGs for a month, but then they have to pay. (Never mind the fact that preinstalled IE and other apps will show it to them for free.)

I used to always install the basic version of ACDSee for them, but Picasa might do the trick. Especially for the price.
posted by pzarquon at 12:53 PM on January 18, 2005


Just checked...I've got almost 3000 pics sitting in my photo collection, comprising about five gigs worth of images. It's a bit of a visual diary of the last couple of years of my life. I'd actually really like a nice way to organize all of them, start attaching captions, etc., but too many sites I've seen have the 640x480-is-good-enough-for-everyone syndrome (i won't look at an image below 1024, it's like focusing on a thumbnail). I'm not particularly shy about paying for hosting, but I am relatively worried about being unable to extract any comments or captions from a hosting service. Suggestions?

ef2b, feel free to be shameless -- just explain why.
posted by effugas at 1:25 PM on January 18, 2005


Photoshop (full version, not Album) can't upload photos to your blog, get rid of red eye easily, or make collages.

You can use photoshop to make collages. Duh.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on January 18, 2005


With the press of one button?
posted by rushmc at 1:35 PM on January 18, 2005


effugas - Part of the problem is that many of the current photosharing sites are print oriented so they try to restric access to the original or anything that is printable. I think that business will wither as home printing grows in popularity. We offer the ability download originals if the sharer allows it and I think that will become increasing common. I am not sure the browser is the best place to display rather large images though I am open for counter examples of where it is done right.

With regard to metadata for JPEGS we embed captions and descriptions in the image itself using the industry standard IPTC. I suspect more programs will start to do this as it seems to be common customer request.
posted by ef2b at 2:10 PM on January 18, 2005


get rid of red eye easily

If you can't get rid of red eye in Photoshop, you are wasting Photoshop's precious time.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 2:14 PM on January 18, 2005


ACDSee 2.43, representin'.

3.1 (original, not that enhanced 3.1 crap) is in the motherfucking house.

With the press of one button?

Wow, how generic. Kinda like sending a resume with the built-in Word templates. Just reaks of sad.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:44 PM on January 18, 2005


Just to veer slightly off-topic, why can't iPhoto simply import photos into its library and leave them where I choose on the harddrive in the same way iTunes lets me decide how I want my music organized?

Well, because 99.44% of the time you're importing images from your camera, not from elsewhere on your computer. Because that's where images come from -- your camera. It would be pretty stupid to leave the images where they were, because then you'd have to hook your camera up to your computer every time you wanted to view your library, to say nothing of the problem you'd have if you deleted the images off your camera's memory card because you wanted to take more, which is kind of the entire point of digital photography.
posted by kindall at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2005


With the press of one button?

And this, friends, it what separates Picasa from Photoshop. The consumer that has no time to learn how an application actually works, demands that all tasks are dumbed down so "all I have to do is push one button."
posted by boymilo at 3:37 PM on January 18, 2005


I'm still a user of ACDSee. I tried the original Picasa and quickly found myself uninstalling it and switching back to ACDSee.

Ditto what TheGoldenOne said.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:16 PM on January 18, 2005


Asking what picasa can do that photoshop cannot is like saying what can a palm pilot do that Deep Blue cannot?

Nothing.

But most ppl only need a palm pilot (if you need deep blue for your PDA needs, you need to simplify, or play less chess).

Or put simply, one is for the poweruser, one is for the general public.
posted by eurasian at 4:19 PM on January 18, 2005


Wow, how generic. Kinda like sending a resume with the built-in Word templates. Just reaks of sad.

Actually not, in this case. One of the presets is a proof-sheet like collage that I can immediately think of numerous uses for.

And this, friends, it what separates Picasa from Photoshop. The consumer that has no time to learn how an application actually works, demands that all tasks are dumbed down so "all I have to do is push one button."

Ah, nothing like the arrogance of the computer geek toward the average user! But there are more of them than there are of you, and companies can only profit by simplifying their products (not to the simplistic level of one button, perhaps—I hate all the "graphics lite apps" as much as it sounds like you do, not, however, because they are easy to use, but because they cease to be easy to do as soon as you want to do something beyond what the programmer has envisioned), but waaay down from the terrible interface and design that is Photoshop).
posted by rushmc at 4:34 PM on January 18, 2005


Ok, I'll admit, it comes across as arrogant. And I personally hate arrogance. But after working all day making other peoples pictures look better, and then have someone claim some "one button" app can do instantly what it takes me half a day to do can be frustrating.
posted by boymilo at 5:32 PM on January 18, 2005


crap. picasa locked up my PC.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:44 PM on January 18, 2005


Picasa 2 kicks ass, flat-out.
I have a sophomoric knowledge of Photoshop (but never mastered it & don't have time to), I love the Flickr community (and the tags, groups, etc.) but Picasa rules when it comes to managing images and doing the simple things I need to do-- find/ size/ crop/ dump redeye/ fix colors/ save for web.
posted by juggernautco at 6:13 PM on January 18, 2005


I'd recommend that everyone consider the next generation of iPhoto before judging whether Picasa 2 "outshines" the gold standard of Mac photo organization.
posted by glewtion at 6:38 PM on January 18, 2005


I am a total Mac head, but I tell everyone to put Picasa on their computer. I tell them it's almost as good as iPhoto, but I know it's actually better--file management alone takes care of that. I'll be sure to let them all know Picasa 2 is out--thanks!
posted by sdrawkcab at 6:59 PM on January 18, 2005


Picasa sounds great. And the whole Photoshop vs. other apps argument is boring.

For the record, though Photoshop can't post to blogs or anything like that, there's NO type of image manipulation that it can't do. Images are made of pixels and Photoshop gives you full control of pixels. There may be other applications that perform certain operations faster. But if you learn Photoshop Actions (you don't need programming skills), you can make a 40-step process take only one step.
posted by grumblebee at 7:51 PM on January 18, 2005


and then have someone claim some "one button" app can do instantly what it takes me half a day to do can be frustrating.

But I don't think anyone is saying that.
posted by rushmc at 9:17 PM on January 18, 2005


Yeah, the whole 'gets out red-eye' thing is just wierd to me. You want a one-step process to get out red-eye? Don't use the on-camera flash.

Ah, nothing like the arrogance of the computer geek toward the average user!

Nothing like a warm-cuddly software company's patronizing hand-holding of the poor, non-geek masses. How on earth do you sad folk even manage to turn on the computer by yourself?

In the end, if something matters to you, an all-in-one solution is generally the worst way to go. There are too many compromises and features lacking. iPhoto for image categorization? Learn how to use a database, and keep your files well-organized instead. You'll find both those skills will come in handy again in life. iTunes for your music? Hope your music collection is under a hard drive in size.

As some of you say, for "most" people, this is all they'll need. Good on them, I say. But just you wait. These swiss-army knife applications usually end being Jacks of all trades, masters of none.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:27 PM on January 18, 2005




So that you can do some rudimentary corrections within iPhoto without affecting the original photo, iPhoto makes its "own" copy. Of course, most users probably DON'T do a whole lot of editing from within iPhoto (guessing here, but out of every thousand digital images on your drive, do you edit a percentage anywhere in double digits? I don't!). Probably it should make aliases of your images (aliases are of course MUCH smaller files) except when you edit something (in which case, it makes itself a copy).

I personally think iPhoto is too immature a program for the industrial-strength user such as I. I use the image-browsing software that came with my Canon digital SLR. It doesn't make copies for itself, it's fast, and it knows I use Photoshop so it doesn't try to compete.

I like the idea of software to make image "InstaBlogs" though.

posted by humannature at 9:32 PM on January 18, 2005


Groan. My first 2 hours with Picasa2 are an utter disappointment. After the upgrade, I'm greeted with "Labels" and "Folders on Disk" which seem to be some sort of drunken interpretation of my painstakenly organized one-point-whatever Picasa Albums.

Ok, fine, upgrade pains. At least "Folders on Disk" implies a digital road to Eldorado where my abstract photo albums and my folders on disk are all nice and organized.

So I set forth reorganizing. But what's this? Some of the folders I'm coalescing are leaving behind strange artifacts,"Picasa.ini...Originals..."

WHAT. THE. FUCK. PICASA.

Apparently, Folders on Disk isn't; I'm getting the sinking feeling that \My Pictures is now speaking the binary language of moisture vaporators and Picasa2 wants to be my protocol droid. Picasa3 might speak Bocce, but right now I just want an organized photo album. This sucks.
posted by Loser at 9:51 PM on January 18, 2005


As a self-taught programmer/designer-geek, who now has next to no time to get a haircut or do laundry, much less spend a day doing perfect red-eye corrections and crops in photoshop, I have absolutely no problem with a one-button solution that does a halfway decent red-eye removal, and that's the reason I love Picasa.

When my daughter was born, I spent a solid year transferring photos off the camera, cropping/resizing, pushing to a site that read the photos in from the filesystem, only to get maybe 20 images every 2 months up. With Picasa or [insert other easy to use photo program], I install, find the pictures, and publish. At most, tweak the crap HTML Picasa 1 generated, and upload. Instantly removed a solid 1-2 hours of work from my day, which I can go spend getting a haircut/doing laundry/reading mefi.
posted by crabcakes at 9:52 PM on January 18, 2005


Picassa: consumer album product. Free, nice clean.

Photoshop/Image Ready: pro tool for web and print designers.

You won't find masks, colour seperation, selective colour control, a gazillion specialzed filters, layer masks and support for different printing and colour systems in Picassa ...

Actually I like Picassa's cool interface, but it lacks very simple things like dragging and dropping a file from it's album onto the desktop or a photoshop window. Simple stuff, but it's not there.

For any mere mortal Picassa is great to organize pix and do some editing - but it is simply no substitute for a full blown editing tool - and it was never meant to be ...
posted by homodigitalis at 3:11 AM on January 19, 2005


RobotJohnny: I am stunned whenever I hear any praise at all for iPhoto, as if iAnything must be good. Unlike iTunes which brilliantly automates all kingd of things that I would otherwise end up doing by hand, iPhoto is a slow-moving trojan horse that steals your pictures and hides them (as you point out). This is unaccapteble. I have huge image-storing, sorting and sharing issues (as you might guess) and iPhoto only made me angry. It's right up there with the puck mouse at the top of the list of bad iDeas. (I use iView Media which cost me more money but causes me little aggravation.)

As for the next generation of iPhoto, Apple already lost me, and it's my duty to spread bad will towards iPhoto since bad software from Apple is very uncool.

I will probably try out Picassa (on my other computer) to see if I would recommend it. I am impressed by Google's approach to other products. I expect Google to actually have some insight on what people might want to do with their pictures...
posted by KS at 7:18 AM on January 19, 2005


My real question is this: when will we have a viable desktop photo management system that allows that wonderful "one-click" to upload to Flickr?
posted by benjh at 7:30 AM on January 19, 2005


Well I'm finding this quite cool. I've never used Picasa1, or iPhoto and haven't touched ACDSee since they started make you pay for it. XnView has been my image browser of choice but P2 does look spiffy. Obviously not a Photoshop replacement for those who need PS but also not $700 if like crabcakes one just needs to remove a little red eye.

Yeah, the whole 'gets out red-eye' thing is just wierd to me. You want a one-step process to get out red-eye? Don't use the on-camera flash.
Not all red eye is caused by flash.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 AM on January 19, 2005


Red eye is caused by light bouncing off the back of the eye; it needs to travel straight through to the back of the eye and then straight back into the lens. Realistically, only a flash almost directly aligned with the lens will do this.

As for taking shots without the flash -- handheld images w/o flash tend to get pretty shaky and "abstract", by which I mean they're awful. Removing red eye after the fact isn't terribly hard either (given that the noise is almost entirely confined to the red channel).
posted by effugas at 8:33 AM on January 19, 2005


How on earth do you sad folk even manage to turn on the computer by yourself?

That's so stupid that it undermines whatever point you were trying to make.
posted by rushmc at 9:14 AM on January 19, 2005


Okay. Tried it. It looks very smooth, and it might work if I get used to it. But:

a) What happened to my directory structures? It's nice to sort it by date, but I had a different system in my directory structures. Why does it 'flatten out' my collection?

b) Where are "Move to..." and/or "Copy to..." . Those are basic actions, so why can't I find them?

c) What the hell was wrong with the concept of a scrollbar? Is there any way to take out all the scifi stuff and just have it work like a normal program?

Overall, it looks sleak, and I can see it's potential. But I think I'll stick with XnView.
posted by Harry at 1:41 PM on January 19, 2005


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