Picasa 3, Take 2

Last year, Google updated the Picasa software to version 3. At the time, I tried it, but was very unhappy with a few things. Principally, these were the forced automated update from 2.7 (it downloads the update without asking you and then installs it behind your back), and the way it interfered with my scanner and camera settings. The issue with the update is that comparable programs like Firefox will never update you to a new major version, and they do so much more transparently. It is almost impossible to stop the update from 2.7 without being underhand because as soon as you start it up for the very first time, and before you get a chance to change the settings not to check automatically for updates, it starts out downloading 3.x right away and automatically installs it the next time at startup. And if you do manage to stop it from updating, then it keeps hassling you every few days to download the update anyway.

At the time I found Picasa had taken over from Canon CameraWindow as the default application when I connected a camera to download pictures. This issue has been addressed in the newest version that I installed, 3.1.0. Picasa also doesn’t interfere with scanner settings – the Epson’s front panel button still launched the Epson Scan software without any quibbles.

One of the most useful features of Picasa 3 is the automated web album sync which removes the need to manually upload new or changed files. I expect to give this a good test out over the next few weeks as I update all of my existing pictures in lepidopterophile’s albums with tags. Being able to add the latter to pictures is another new feature, though the interface provided could use some design improvements. It was pleasing to see that this feature is implemented through existing IPTC tags. Last I heard, Google was having some trouble implementing these, so it’s good to see they have been able to make them work, because it means that when the occasion suits you can use another IPTC client (I use Irfanview). Another nice feature is being able to make a video from a set of pictures. I got the exploding camera into a video and uploaded it to Youtube.

Now I have decided to stick with Picasa 3, Google will have to work hard to overcome my previous negative viewpoint of it. So far, it’s looking promising.