I have a new entry to add to my list of essential software: Google’s Picasa2, an image management tool for all your digital photos. Google’s innovations in online services and software have always impressed me in the past, and their latest release is no exception.
Picasa doesn’t introduce any revolutionary new features, but it does combine them all in a slick and very useful package. It will automatically find and organize all your existing images, and monitor your computer for new ones. Once in Picasa, you can edit and optimize your images with the built-in tools, including the amazingly useful “I’m feeling lucky” button, which automatically optimize the color balance and contrast of your photos.
The amazing thing is that Picasa does not make any changes to the underlying photos, but records all your modifications in its database, so you retain the originals and can easily undo any changes you make. A slight downside to this feature is the lack of an easy means to make those changes permanent, but you can easily export your photos to disk, online photo service, or web gallery. The only other complaint I have is that photos are sorted by only two levels of hierarchy – date and folder. For a free download, the features are unbeatable.
While I am on the subject, here is a list of free software essential for any Windows computer user.