Giving Picasa a try

Those of you who know me, know that I am a big fan of Flickr.  I’ve been using it for years, and I have more than 10,000 photos upload there.  I am also a big fan of Google.  And even so, I ignored and disregarded their Picasa service.  Why?  Because it is boring.

Flickr is a fresh and very much unique solution to the photo sharing problem.  It is a photostream.  It is social with all the commends and groups.  It helps with organization of photos by sets, collections, and tags.  It utilizes EXIF image data.  It allows to geotag pictures.  It was one of the first to introduce easy Creative Commons licensing.  And more.

Picasa is very straightforward and … boring.  Create albums, upload images, share the selected.  That was pretty much it.  Later on of course comments came in, geotagging was implemented, and even face recognition was added. Sort of.  The strength of Picasa was not in the web service.  It was in the photo management application that you’d install on your computer.  And that was exactly what I never wanted to do.

My computer is unreliable.  It crashes, and dies, and gets outdated.  It runs out of disk space.  I lose it.  And I can’t really share and discuss things off my computer with other people.  I can, but it’s not easy or convenient.  Flickr solves my problem – I upload pictures there, and everyone can see, comment, and reuse them.

That however created a new problem for me.  Since I know that other people will look at my photos, I want to edit them a bit before uploading – crop, contrast, saturation.  Things like that.  But when I take a lot of pictures at once – event or travel – I have to work a lot to process them.  If I get several events in a row, I get stuck, overload, and lose interest.  Like now, for example.  I still have photos from my 2009 trips that I haven’t uploaded anywhere.

A few days ago, I realized that there might be a workable scenario for me with Picasa.  Picasa these days is much more feature rich than it used to be.  It still lacks the social functionality, but it offers something more for photo management.  Picnick – an online photo editor.  With that, I can upload all my photos to Picasa as soon as I have them. I can keep them in a private album, edit them when I have the time, and then share them later.  Or share them immediately and edit them later – there is less social pressure because there is less social interactions and functionality.

On top of that, Picasa is better working with my new Android phone.  I already use it to backup photos from my phone.  Having their all photos together makes sense.

One other thing that Picasa does better – uploads.  Both services have API, so there are plenty of tools to move pictures around.  But I always prefer the simplest solution.  Flickr provides five file upload fields on their site.  If I need to upload few hundreds of pictures, I’ll spend too much time with that.  I am, sort of, forced to install an application or a browser plugin or something.  Picasa web albums allows to select multiple files for upload – as many as you have in the folder.  So in just a couple of clicks I can select and start the upload and come back later when it’s done.

Having seen all that in the last few days, I decided to try it out.  I am no uploading all my photos to Picasa as well.  I’ll keep them in private albums for now.  If I like it enough, I’ll share them later.

What about you?  Where do you keep your photos?  How do you share them?  And are you happy with your current setup?