Google's Picasa

Stephen Yagielowicz
Billed as "the easy way to find, edit, and share your photos," Picasa is a powerful and intriguing image management, manipulation and publishing tool from Google.

According to the company, Picasa lets users organize and manage their photos, galleries and albums; and its automated image scanning function will find photos that you forgot you had — or where you put. It allows you to edit images; providing simple but effective tools for eliminating scratches and blemishes, fixing red-eye, cropping and more.

Among some of Picasa's most compelling features are its abilities to turn photos into movies, collages, slideshows and more.

Picasa is also an image publishing platform that lets users upload photos and videos to Picasa Web Albums; to share either publicly or in private "unlisted" albums.

Folder-level options and access controls can be specified for Picasa Web Albums; such as adjusting the access privacy settings; online image sizes and more. Unwanted albums may be deleted and a sync feature automatically updates all or selected images whenever they are altered within the software.

Picasa also offers folder management with multiple options, allowing users to right-click a folder to move it to a desired destination or to create a new folder altogether; while comprehensive information about images is easily specified and retrieved using icons and tools in the Library view.

For users uploading a lot of content, an upload throttling feature that prevents the application from overloading an Internet connection and allowing the user to continue surfing, or performing other online tasks, is most welcome. Captions and watermarks; keyword tags and ratings; easy backups and flexible printing options further bolster the application's powerful feature set.

A Retouch tool removes unsightly blemishes and improves photo quality; while the Picasa Photo Viewer is a fast, lightweight application for viewing images on your desktop or through Windows Explorer without having to fully open the Picasa program.

If you're looking for a free photo management utility with a lot of unique and powerful features, then Google's Picasa is for you.