Google Photos Blog: Announcing Picasa 3.0 and a new version of Picasa Web Albums!
With Picasa’s announcement of the updated Web Albums site, I’ve settled on it for my own photography needs. Their “name tags” feature is incredibly well-done, I can arbitrarily tag my photos additionally, and they’ve added other compelling features that have sold me on it.
Previously, I had been using Flickr. By the time I joined, it seemed to be the premier community for photographers, and it offered the most features I wanted: licensing photos, tagging, flexible management of albums/sets, RSS feeds for nearly everything, and super-cool mash-ups with other sites.
Separately, a lot of people have been using Facebook for photos (at least those of people-based events and such), namely because their person tagging is very good: boxes around faces and notifications of tagged photos. (Flickr has tagging, and you can separately add boxed notes to photos, but it has no way to connect that directly with people.) While not a photography website per se, it is certainly a great way to share photos easily.
Picasa Web Albums has been a nice project, and I had used it occasionally, but not very often. The interface hasn’t been the best, it felt very closed off from any sort of community, and it seemed to be wedded to the application Picasa (which has a pretty shoddy track record on Linux). I can (and do) manage my photos quite well via F‑Spot, but there was a lot I couldn’t do without Picasa (the application).
But in one fell swoop, they’ve knocked down the competition. The name tags feature is so nice, it’s actually fun to use; in about an hour I tagged about 700 photos with my existing Gmail contacts. I’ve also tagged my photos with some other keywords, in case you really want to see what photos of roller coasters I’ve taken. Lastly, I can release my photos with Creative Commons licenses, so neat things can happen.
The sum of these features is what drives Picasa’s new Explore page. You can see popular tags, locations, and featured photos. There’s even a (mediocre) game where you guess the locations of photos.
All in all, Google has a good product and it breeds good competition in the photo website space. You can see my photos on my Picasa profile.
(PS: If it seems like I’m talking slow, that’s because I’m sapping my bandwidth uploading four albums at a time. )