Tag Archives: Picasa

Picasa for Mac Beta Arrives!

Last night, after several years of waiting, the beta version of Picasa for Mac was released. I’ve only had a short time to tinker with it thus far, but in short: so far, so good.

Picasa for Mac (beta)

Picasa is tightly bound to Picasa Web Albums, the first 1GB of which is also free, in contrast with Apple’s MobileMe, which runs $99/year.  In addition, in my experience, Picasa Web, while it has its drawbacks to be certain, worked pretty much everywhere, whereas I’ve had problems getting MobileMe’s photo gallery to work properly.  

I’ve chronicled my wish for Picasa for Mac for about 3 years now.  As you can see, the post continues to receive comments and remains, to this day, one of the most visited entries on my site. Clearly, there is demand for this product.

What I believe makes Picasa such a successful product is just how powerful it is. Although iPhoto works very well on the Mac and the iLife integration across applications is priceless, the fact remains that for serious editing and effects, the Mac user must venture outside of iPhoto. Picasa, on the other hand, has an entire suite of tools for photo finishing. Furthermore, Picasa features Google’s search tool, a bevy of organization tools, a plugin system using “buttons,” out-of-the-box integration with Gmail, Blogger, Picasa Web Albums, and the ability to make collages, movies, and more. In fact, there is little doubt that Picasa is a much more robust application that iPhoto.

There are some missing features in this beta: Geotagging didn’t make the cut, nor did webcam capture, screen capture, and screensaver. Also missing are the ability to order prints, an HTML export, and the fantastic Picasa Photo Viewer. Most of these features are certainly tied tighter into the OS, and while they will be missed, they are by no means deal-breakers.

I noticed the menus in Picasa for Mac are very “Windows-y.”  The menu bar still has a “File/Edit/View/Tools” bar across the top, which is decidedly “un-Mac-like,” although the preferences window does use the current Mac look and feel.  

What remains to be seen is whether or not Picasa is stable, whether or not it’s fast, and whether or not it can handle large photo libraries. I know people with well over 15,000 photos in their iPhoto collection, and the application is solid. Since Picasa doesn’t store it’s own library, but rather, merely catalogs photos elsewhere on your disk, we’ll have to see whether this translates into a performance advantage or disadvantage. It remains to be seen if Picasa for Mac can go toe-to-toe with more mature, native solutions. That said, count me in as one of the many waiting to find out.

Buh Bye, Picasa Web Albums

After settling in on Picasa Web Albums, I’ve taken my album offline and cancelled by Google paid storage. I’m going to be deciding on a new picture host soon. Hopefully one that actually support subfolders, password protection, and has a good, quick, easy iPhoto plugin. This is when I wish MobileMe wasn’t so damned expensive.

Picasa Web Albums, even with their incredible face-recognizing people tagger, is so sub-par compared to every other photo album out there. Its feature-poor interface lacks so much that it makes using it a chore for me. I’ve tackled this before: Picasa Web just ain’t cuttin it.

A Review of Online Photo Services

Some time ago, I switched to Google’s Picasa Web Albums online photo management software. Although it’s simple to use, Picasa Web has been missing too many features for too long, and after Google locked me out of their software for a few days due to a bug of some sort, and their iPhoto plug-in stopped working, I decided it was time to start checking out the alternatives. I have played with a few services, and judged them based on a number of criteria, including these 15 questions:

1. How easy is it to do batch uploads?
2. Are there decent Mac and Windows upload tools?
3. Does it work in all major browsers (Opera and Safari are both important)
4. Will the default display scale to upwards of 2500 photos?
5. How fast does each page load?
6. Is the image scaled down? If so, is the original available?
7. Is it a fly-by-night startup that I can count on to be around?
8. How much does it cost for a pro membership, if anything? What are the benefits?
9. What are my storage requirements?
10. What is my traffic/bandwidth limit, if any?
11. Are there integrated ads?
12. How easy is it for others to access my photos?
13. Is there any sort of privacy?
14. What type of tools exist for me to manage my photos once they are online?
15. Is there some sort of embed/slideshow for my webpages?

I’ve tested the following services: Picasa Web Albums, Flickr, Zoto, Zooomr, SmugMug, Photobucket, Facebook, and MySpace. Read on for my initial results.
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My Faith in Google Is Now In Question

As my readers will know, I’ve detailed my isses with Google, or more specifically, Picasa Web in the past. Well, today, I was surprised when Picasa refused to upload new photos for me. I cannot use my iPhoto exporter anymore, since that broke with one of the last two updates to iPhoto, so I tried the web interface and then the “Picasa Web Albums Uploader” application Google provides. The reason it failed? No storage.

“That’s odd,” I thought. I have extended storage and about 5 GB free. But alas, it expired. In fact, my storage SHOULD have expired in August, but just did recently. So I tried to upgrade again. After all, Google’s been good to me on the whole. But my order was cancelled by Google. The reason: “Another order modified the user’s storage plan before this order was received

What the heck? So I tried again. And once again: cancelled. So my storage has been cancelled for a few days now, no upgrade has been applied, no warning whatsoever from Google (at my account, which is a Gmail account!), and no way to upgrade!

Gmail has been a fantastic app for me, but I’m just not sure about extended Google services. I’ve heard way too many nightmare stories about people having stuff cancelled and there is just no recourse: Google provides no support, no assistance, no real time communication, nothing other than crappy, slow-to-respond Google groups from very unofficial people.

Google’s storage engine has been modified heavily lately, and this does not bode well. If it can expire without notice – will they delete my stuff? How long will they hold it, being as though I can’t upgrade? If Google deletes even one bit of my stuff, I am through with PicasaWeb and Google’s expanded storage for good.

Boo Google! Boo! It may be time migrate to smugmug, Zoto, or zooomr.com.

I Found a Google Bug!

Yes, I can now confirm that I have found a bug in Picasa Web Albums. Since the new “tagging” features are not validated – either client side or server side – you can use URL signficant characters in your tags. At first, I used a plus sign (+), which was URL decoded as a space. This lead me to try #, then ?, and finally &, which inexplicably – WORKS!

So I created a new tag D&psc=CONTACTS — and guess what? — it has some funny results. It searches all of your contacts’ photos for the letter D (which is common in default photo names, such as DSC001.jpg). Then I thought, “I wonder if I browse the JS source if I can find a command that is passed via URL GET variable that can be instantiated via an intentionally malcrafted tag?” I have posted on the Google USENET group and filed a bug through the standard complaint form. I consider this pretty big news, but I don’t want to submit it to digg or Slashdot or post on OSNews until someone has a chance to implement a fix, which is probably pretty trivial (URL encode the tag links) or fix it properly (validate tags on creation).

Anyway, I’m psyched, because I understand it’s pretty rare to find a bug in Google’s code.

Picasa Evolves

Well, I’m very excited to report that Google has begun bringing Picasa into the Web 2.0 realm.

Today I signed in and found — tags! and search! and moire storage! Hooray! So this is fantastic, it’s the start of bringing this beast up to “usable” for large photostreams.

Now that Picasa is evolving, they are letting you expand beyond 6GB to 25GB, 50GB, and even 100GB. I can’t image how clunky and weak it would be with that many albums, but I have to assume they’re working on it.

Unfortunately, what’s really missing is the ability to tag multiple photos at once. I’m not going to tag 3000+ photos one by one. But still, nice to see some progress.

I did find a bug. It let me create the tag “A+J,” which is linked on the front page of my photos, but not wrapped with urlencode(), so it throws an error. I found a google bug!

Picasaweb goes Gold …well, for me at least

I’ve gone ahead and transitioned my photos from flickr to PicasaWeb. Picasaweb is simply so much easier to navigate. Yes, it’s true, there’s no easy way to include a photo in multiple albums. Yes, this is completely anti-tag-based-systems and therefore contrary to everything I preach about Gmail, but the fact is that many people simply don’t “get it” when it comes to Flickr, and I find myself frequently trying to explain to less technological relatives show to use it. I love it, but it’s simply too complex for the Average Joe to follow.

Picasaweb, on the other hand, integrates freely with Picasa and iPhoto, which makes it VERY attractive, it’s cheap ($25 a year for 6GB storage), and it’s drop dead simple. So for now, I’m on Picasaweb.

I really want Picasa on Mac.

I may be one of a few, but I REALLY want to see a version of Picasa for OS X. Yes, I know there are great image editing programs out there for Mac, and that possibly, many Mac users already have one or more of them installed, however, *I* don’t. In fact, I don’t even really know how to work with my photos. I suppose iPhoto is a nice program, but I loved Picasa, and found it to be the most user friendly program I’d used in a long time. Other than the fact that it litered those damned picasa.ini files in every damn folder on the disk, it’s fantastic. After seeing this article, though, I now have hope.