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A Quick Post on Picasa

 

Writing up my Archive Photography workflow for the Hacking my Digital Research Workflow series, I realized I had a lot more to say about Picasa than was appropriate for the post.  So here is the quick and dirty rundown:

  • Picasa scans any folder you point it to for image file types (.jpg, .png, .tiff, and a range of others). And it will scan continuously, cutting down the time you spend asking it to rescan and rescan over and over.
  • The interface makes browsing images easy. Thumbnails of each image are laid out on a grid in the main window while an optional sidebar lists your folder hierarchy.
  • If I need to manipulate the images to see text more clearly, I use the contrast, light, and color features to make small corrections. The best feature of all is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” batch edit which will fix resolution, contrast, light, and color with one click–usually better than I could on my own.
  • Adding captions, tags, and face recognition (if you need that) is also easy (in case you haven’t guessed, there is nothing about Picasa that isn’t simple as can be).  Everything is searchable and Picasa’s search function is powered by Google which means it doesn’t get much better. And because Picasa uses exif tags, the metadata (details about the photo like where it was taken, what kind of equipment it was taken on, and any captions or tags you add) can be read by other photo sharing or indexing programs (like DevonThink).
  • Big one for those concerned about exporting, migration, and general organization of their hard drive–unlike iPhoto, images aren’t moved or copied to different places on your computer (taking up space) or imported into a separate, opaque, Picasa database. Each of the images remain where they are in the original folder on your computer and the changes you make, when saved, are saved to the original file.

There are other features like photo sharing, syncing with your Google Drive, sending via gmail, and Picasa’s integration with an old favorite Picnik (rest in peace). I use it as an all around tool to search my hard drive for images–especially when I can’t quite remember the filename I used and need to search visually rather than by text.

In other words, Picasa may be as good as it gets without emptying your pockets.  But I wonder what others thing.

If you’ve used image editors, photo sharing software, etc–what do you use?

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