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Picasa is a software application for organizing and editing digital photos, originally created by Idealab and now owned by Google. "Picasa" is a blend of the name of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa for "my house," and "pic" for pictures (personalized art). The icon and logo is a stylized house formed by the aperture blades of a photographic lens. In July 2004, Google acquired Picasa and began offering Picasa for free download. At the time of the acquisition, the company's management team consisted of Lars Perkins as CEO, Mike Herf as CTO, and Dan Engel as VP Market Development.

There is native support for Windows XP and Windows Vista, as well as a version for Linux, available through Google Labs. For Windows 98 and Windows Me, only an older version is available. There is also an iPhoto plugin or a stand-alone program for uploading photos available for Mac OS X 10.4 and later.

Picasa Features

Picasa Organization and editing

For organizing photos, Picasa has file importing and tracking features, as well as tags and collections for further sorting. It also offers several basic photo editing functions, including color enhancement, red eye reduction and cropping. Other features include slide shows, printing and image timelines. Images can also be prepared for external use, such as for e-mailing or printing, by reducing file size and setting up page layouts. There is also integration with online photo printing services.

Picasa Keywords

Picasa uses picasa.ini files to keep track of keywords for each image. In addition to this, Picasa attaches IPTC keyword data to JPEG files, but not to any other file format. Keywords attached to JPEG files in Picasa can be read by other image library software like Adobe (Photoshop, Album and Bridge), digiKam and iPhoto.

According to the Picasa Readme, Picasa can parse XMP data. However, it cannot search local files for existing XMP keywords.

Searching on Picasa for photos

Picasa has a search bar that is always visible when viewing the library. Searches are live in that displayed items are filtered as you type.

When a word is typed into the search bar, an image will be displayed if that word is all or part of a keyword, or part of the file name. If the searched word is part of a folder name, all images in that folder are also displayed (but not necessarily images in subfolders, unless the word also exists in a keyword or filename.)

Picasa also supports boolean operators for searching in much the same way as Google's web search. All search terms are included by default (as with the operator "AND"), and keywords may be omitted by using the hyphen (as in the boolean operator "NOT"). For example, the search "family -friends" will cause Picasa to display all images with the keyword family, but which do not include the keyword friends.

Viewing Picasa

Picasa has no separate view window. There is only an "edit view" with a viewing area. Fullscreen view is available in slideshow mode, by holding down the ctrl+alt keys while in "edit view", or by pressing the Alt Gr key.


Picasa does not overwrite photos when changes are made. Instead, it lists all the changes made and puts the list in a separate file. Whenever the image is opened in Picasa it will check the list and apply the changes that the list tells it to. If you open the photo in any other program, though, the image will not have the changes applied to it. To see the changes when using the photo in other programs you must 'export' the photo. In Picasa 2, a new feature has been added to allow users to save changes made to the pictures in Picasa by overwriting the actual picture file. However, a backup version of the original picture is made and saved in a hidden folder named "Originals", which is located within the same folder as the original picture.

Picasa Image recognition

On 15 August 2006, Google announced they had acquired Neven Vision whose technology can be used to search for features within photos such as people or buildings. Google has stated that this technology will be applied to searching for photos within Picasa at some stage in the near future.[1]

Neven Vision incorporates several patents[2] specifically centered around face recognition from digital photo and video images. Neven Vision's technology has been voted among the top finishers in both the FERET 1997 and FRVT 2002 independent tests comparing the world's best face recognition technologies.

Other Picasa applications

Picasa Web Albums

Picasa Web Albums (PWA) is a photo-sharing web application from Google, often compared to programs like Flickr and Zooomr.

It allows users with accounts at Google to store and share 1 GB of photos for free. Users can purchase more storage space, which is shared between other Google services, to a total of:
Plans: no. of Gigabytes Cost per Year in US$ Cost of 1GB per Year in US$
10 20 2.00
40 75 1.875
150 250 1.667
400 500 1.25

Users may upload pictures either via a web interface, Picasa 2.5.0 or later,[3] on Microsoft Windows, using the Exporter for iPhoto, the Aperture to Picasa Web Albums plug-in, or Uploader on Mac OS X,[4] or F-Spot on Linux. In both paid and free accounts, the actual resolution of the photo is maintained (even though a smaller resolution photo may be displayed by the web interface), and the original photo can be downloaded.

PWA uses an "unlisted number" approach for URLs for private photo albums. This allows a user to email a private album's URL to anyone s/he wants; the recipient can view the album without having to create a user account - this is done via an "authentication key" that's needed to be appended to the URL for the album to be shown. The Picasa help files say that private albums are not searchable by anyone except the user.

On October 11, 2006, the "Test" name was removed, in favour of purely Picasa Web Albums.

No ads are shown on Picasa Web Albums, in either free or paid accounts. The Terms of Service[5] permit Google to use the uploaded photos to display on the website or via RSS feeds, and also for promoting Google services royalty-free.

Picasa Web Albums was first leaked on June 6, 2006.[6] When introduced, it came with 250 MB free space. On March 7, 2007, it was upgraded to 1 GB.

[edit] Hello

Hello by Google's Picasa was a free computer program that allows users to send images across the Internet and publish them to their blogs. It is similar to an instant messaging program because one can send text, but Hello focuses on digital photographs.[7] You can opt to view the same pictures as your friends in real-time. One of the advantages claimed at the website is that photos can be shared through firewalls.

Hello's unique and very popular Bloggerbot IM service was canceled at the end of 2006, and users are instructed to try the Picasa 'Blog This' functionality for uploading pictures to their blogs. According to the official website,[7] hello project was shut down on June 11, 2008.

[edit] Picasa Wordpress Widget

Picasa wordpress widget is a wordpress plugin which allows users to publish random photos from picasa albums on their blogs.

[edit] Version history

[edit] Windows

There are no versions of Picasa for Windows 95 or NT. The latest version offered for Windows 98/ME is 2.0.0 (build 18.84).[8][9] Newer versions are for Windows 2000/XP/Vista only.

* 1.618 (build 5.35) July 2004 – free download version offered since Google's acquisition of Picasa.
* 2.0.0 (build 18.77) January 18, 2005 – many features including improved search functions, an automated photo collage maker, massively enhanced photo editing functions and further integration with Picasa's Hello and Google's Blogger services.
* 2.0.0 (build 18.84) June 8, 2005 – bug fix release, latest release for Windows 98/ME. This version does not suffer from the "picasa2\runtime\hlpsys.dll is not a valid windows image. Check installation disk." error, which some users have experienced.
* 2.1.0 (build 27.60) September 19, 2005 – new features including international language support, one-click photo blogging, CD cover printing, improved RAW handling and improved support for external drives.
* 2.2.0 (build 28.20) January 30, 2006 – 25 additional languages are supported, new network drive support, and bug fixes for IE7 support and CD Burning.
* 2.5.0 (builds 32.01) June 12, 2006 onwards – beta versions including Picasa Web Albums support – last version (build 32.97) started rollout on November 14, 2006.
* 2.6 (build 35.94.0) December 7, 2006 – new autoupdate behavior for Windows Vista support, new CD/DVD-burning engine, improved upload reliability to Picasa Web Albums, and added support for 18 new languages.
* 2.7 (build 36.37.0) April 24, 2007 – new RAW processing engine, new color engine for "tuning" fixes, added support for Google Photos Screensaver, and improved BlogThis! reliability.
o 2.7 Build 36.40 May 3, 2007 – support for more cameras, updated version number for international installs.
o 2.7 Build 36.60 26 June 2007 – added support for geotag, supposedly fixed problems with showing up some video files.
o 2.7 Build 37.23 21 August 2007 – support for more languages, fixes several bugs.
o 2.7 Build 37.29 13 September 2007 – Added support for RAW pictures from the Canon 40D, fixes several bugs.
o 2.7 Build 37.32 02 October 2007 – Fixed a case where corrupted AVI files could cause a crash. Fixed a case that would result in a "This account is not enabled for Picasa Web Albums" error.
o 2.7 Build 37.36 30 October 2007 – Added support for 11 additional languages: Bulgarian, Catalan, Filipino, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Thai, Vietnamese.
o 2.7 Build 37.49 07 March 2008 - Improved performance for new Intel chips. Translation fixes for Hungarian and Chinese. Fixed a case that would result in an error when capturing images from webcams.

See also the release notes.[10] and the latest updates page[11]

[edit] Linux

  • As from about early June 2006, Linux versions (2.2.2820-5) became available as free downloads for most distributions of the Linux operating system. It is not a native Linux program but an adapted Windows version that uses the Wine libraries.[12]
    • A Release Candidate of Picasa for Linux 2.7 (Build 37.3607,0) was released on 21 November 2007.[13]
    • Google added Picasa for Linux 2.7 (Build 37.3615, 0) to its Linux repository on 16 April 2008.

[edit] Mac OS X

Picasa for Mac is under development and will be launched later in 2008.[14] A plugin is available for iPhoto to upload to the Picasa Web Albums hosting service. There is also a standalone Picasa Web Albums uploading tools for OS X 10.4 or later. Using Darwine or similar compatibility layers, however, Picasa can run on Mac OS X.

[edit] Rebirth

On May 2nd 2008 a Hello clone called 'Hello (again)' appeared on the internet.

[edit] See also

  • List of Google products
    • Comparison of image viewers
    • Desktop organizer

[edit] Notes and references

1. ^ "A better way to organize photos?".
2. ^ "Google, Neven Vision & Image Recognition".
3. ^ Picasa Web Albums
4. ^ Picasa Web Albums
5. ^ Picasa: Terms of Service
6. ^ Google Picasa Web Albums Coming?
7. ^ a b Hello : Welcome
8. ^ http://dl.google.com/picasa/picasa2-setup-1884.exe, 3.3 MB
9. ^ Do you have a version of Picasa for Windows 98 or ME?
10. ^ Picasa 2 Release Notes
11. ^ Latest Updates for Picasa
12. ^ About Picasa for Linux
13. ^ Google-Labs-Picasa-for-Linux
14. ^ Google Developing Mac Version Of Picasa, Due To Be Released This Year

[edit] External links

  • Picasa website
    • Hello (Picasa's photo-sharing service)-Shut down on 11th June 2008

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