Picasa, Farewell

Google is replacing the multi-talented desktop based Picasa (left) with the minimalist cloud-based Google Photos (right.)

Google is replacing the multi-talented desktop-based Picasa (left) with the minimalist cloud-based Google Photos (right.)

Changes in technology come with breakneck speed. Some we embrace, some we don’t. At least when WordPress streamlined its format, it allowed us the opportunity to use the more beefy original administrator. (Thank you, WordPress.)

One change I’m dreading is the loss of the Picasa photo editing website.  Google is retiring it in spring 2016.  Google has every right to do so, especially since Picasa users pay nothing for its use, but it’s still a bitter blow.  A lot of Picasa users don’t even know it’s going bye-bye yet, although apparently people knew it was coming a while ago. Google is focusing on Google Photos, which is quite different from Picasa and not as useful for my needs. Supposedly, we’ll still be able to use Picasa, if we already have it installed on our desktops, until it dies out from bugs and glitches. We’ll see.

Google Photos is a nice photo storage system, but not a good replacement as an editing and design tool.  In Google Photos, you can upload all of your photos to the cloud for free in a small version, which is probably large enough for most uses, and pay if you need to upload large files when you exceed your large-size quota. I’m transferring all of my large-sized photos to external hard drives.

My son gave me the heads up on Friday night on Picasa’s impending demise, and I was shocked. I was working on my taxes, so I was already in a foul mood, and I quickly went into mourning.  I taped a black ribbon to my monitor. I searched the web (using the damnable Google) to find an alternative.  I use Photoshop a lot, but Picasa is just so darned easy and could do so much. It has lots of design and editing tools and is great for  organizing my photos into files and albums. It will still be usable on your desktop, if you already have it, but won’t be getting any support from Google.

I used Picasa to edit this photograph that I took of Harvest, a cat available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Using Picasa, I could easy crop this photo to the pixel size and aspect required for uploading to the website. Also using Picasa, I could add my initials so that the shelter administrators would know who took the photo if they needed a larger size. Auto contrast, auto color, straightening and sharpening were Picasa tools I often used.

I used Picasa to edit this photograph that I took of Harvest, a cat that was available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Using Picasa, I could easy crop this photo to the pixel size and aspect required for uploading to the website. Also using Picasa, I could add my initials so that the shelter administrators would know who took the photo if they needed a larger size. Auto contrast, auto color, straightening and sharpening were Picasa tools I often used.

For more than five years, I’ve been using Picasa to edit the photographs I take of adoptable cats for an animal shelter’s website in Kansas City, Missouri. It makes it so easy to tag the photo with the cat’s name, attach a watermark and be able to find the photos later.  As far as I can tell, you can’t tag photos in Google Photos. Face recognition will not work with cats.  Because of the ease of use and because it was free, Picasa has been a godsend for other volunteer cat photographers who aren’t photo editors. Now, we’re scrambling to find an alternative.

Here’s a Hibiscus poster (below) that I created using Picasa. I used the posterize function to transform my hibiscus photograph, I used the add a border function to add the initial two-toned border, created a wider border with the collage tool, then added another two-tone border. I added the text of Hibiscus waimeae above the flower and added a band of an hibiscus font that I uploaded, which automatically transferred into Picasa when I downloaded it. Picasa allowed color matching so that I could match the greens and reds of the hibiscus photo to the font and background colors. Though there were many steps, it was easy. I don’t relish learning a new program to do these functions.

If you know of an easy, inexpensive alternative for downloading, editing and organizing photos, let me know in the comments.  I’m checking into FastStone.org.  Anyone have any experience with that program?

Hibiscus Waimeae Square Canvas Print

R.I.P Picasa: Google shutters aging photo service

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20 Comments

Filed under Internet, Photography, Technology

20 responses to “Picasa, Farewell

  1. Sorry I am of no help; but it would be quite a shocker I imagine to hear this news.

  2. Google photos is a lot different from when I first came to Google+. I miss the wonderful “snapseed” editing function. Technology reminds me that life is a continual learning process. But I do miss what was… Sigh…

    • Yes, the learning process. Keeps the brain lively, I guess. Just when you get comfortable with one program, it is closed or replaced. The replacements are not always better.

      Speaking of constantly changing systems, I’ve stopped bothering to learn how to program the television recording system whenever we get a new TV. I think I’ve learned about two dozens “VCR/DVR” different systems over the last couple of decades, and I don’t care enough any more. I can watch online, if I’m desperate to see a show, which I seldom am. πŸ˜‰

      I do care about editing photos, though, so losing a living, breathing Picasa annoys me. I am grateful that Google did offer it for free. I got a lot of use out of it. More than my money’s worth!

  3. Isn’t it amazing how big simply steam-rolls its path for what it wants?

  4. Love the Harvest picture Catherine πŸ˜€
    I have an old Arcsoft photo editor which came with my old digital camera. Both I still use as they are good enough for WP posts. πŸ˜€ ❀

  5. I’ve heard you talk about this for so many years. RIP My husband, Richard, a film editor, originally mourned the demise of Apple’s Final Cut, but he’s now adapted to using Adobe’s Premiere Pro which he’s come to like. I’m still having a hard time adapting to all of the changes on WordPress. It’s a full-time job keeping up with all of the changes.

    • When we watched “Predator” the other day (It’s Mike’s favorite movie), I mentioned to friends and family that Richard had worked on some of the special effects. People were, of course, impressed. And I thought then that technology always changes, and that those effects would be done differently now, and Richard would be on top of the new techniques!

  6. Catherine, I’ve always used Photoshop for everything. At first it was scary and daunting; however, now I can do all the things you’ve mentioned in your post. I haven’t dared stray, because, like everyone who’s commented, it’s hard to change (especially technical things).
    As for the TV – forget it; I leave all that to those who know how – like my man K… πŸ˜‰

    • I’m set in my ways, but I guess I’ll need to move forward. :p I use Photoshop for a lot of creative tasks, but Picasa is just so easy. And I had so many photos tagged, which didn’t carry over to Google Photos. I’m struggling to let go. I’m a hoarder of old photos, even online ones. And I thought I was so good because I tagged!

      I’m so glad you have posted on your blog again! In the interim, I re-enjoyed your older posts.

      • I can understand your angst; photos, especially ones we’ve spent time on, are special to us… Naughty Google! There must be a lot of angry users at the moment.

        Thank You; I’ve enjoyed them with you. Each time you ‘liked’ a reflection, I re-read them too… πŸ™‚

  7. Definitely give Irfanview/it’s plug-ins a go. I’ve been using it for years & it’s updated regularly. You can do a lot with it & doesn’t take long to figure out your most-used steps. It’s a very small program with a ton of options. The edit dialog has “paint” which includes a basic cloning tool. There’s adding frames, text, watermarks, custom rotation, send-by-email, etc…I also write to the creator occasionally with queries/ideas & get replies. FYI πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks for the heads up. I know exactly how you feel. Picassa was a quick and efficient way of looking after images with a one-stop shop. I moved to SmugMug (smugmug dot com) a number of years ago after a lot of research and consideration. The plans are inexpensive but the advantages are more than worth the cost (about the price of a ‘happy-meal’ every month). It offers a lot and I’ve moved up over the years. As a photographer, I have been using The Gimp (gimp dot org) for advanced editing for nearly 15 years and it has been able to handle anything I’ve thrown at it. It certainly compares with a full blown photoshop and it’s free (both as in freedom and beer). Recently I’ve started using Pinta (pinta-project dot com) because it’s fast and simple for quick one offs for here and have started using Upcloud from the WordPress gang.

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