Google Shutting Down Picasa

Ed Lee
Feb 16, 2016

Google PhotosOn February 12, Google announced that it would be retiring Picasa, its photo management software program, and
Picasa Web Album, its  online sharing service, to put more focus on Google Photos. From my perspective, this is a bit of sad news. I have been a user and fan of Picasa since before it was officially launched almost 14 years ago.

I remember meeting Lifescape Solutions CEO Lars Perkins and President Ed Chao when they were still demonstrating a beta version of the software and was impressed with what they had created. The user interface was simple, clean, and easy to use. I started using it when it was launched and it is one of a few programs that have stood the test of time. I consistently use it even today for my local photo organization.

Picasa was a little ahead of its time as there were not yet a lot of photos that needed to be organized and managed, given that the digital photo market was still in its infancy. Fast forward to 2016, and today there are trillions of photos that are stored on people’s computers, cameras, smartphones, tablets, external hard drives, and in the cloud. Photo organization and management is now a significant challenge for all consumers. There are many solutions on the market that offer to help consumers organize their photos and videos in various locations. The challenge is to get consumers to adopt a solution. Apple has a captive audience with its iPhoto application and iCloud service. Windows users have a variety of choices, and Adobe Photoshop Elements stands out as a simple and easy to use solution. Mobile users have a plethora of iOS and Android apps to choose from, including Google Photos. While Google Photos allows online storage, organization, and access to your photos, it lacks the local management and offline access to photos stored on your computer. (Google does offer a desktop uploader that automatically uploads your photos to the cloud, but this is not local control.) Regardless of which programs or services people choose, the key is that they use something on a regular basis.

PicasaLoyal users of Picasa are not likely to welcome this news, as many have spent many hours organizing and keyword-tagging their entire photo collection. Google says that the Picasa desktop application will continue to work even after support is discontinued on March 15, but no future updates will be issued. Picasa Web Albums is also going away, but users will still be able to access their online albums through Google Photos. For those of you who do not want to use Google Photos or who still want to be able to view specific content, such as tags, captions or comments, Google will be creating a new place for access to Picasa Web Albums data. Users will be able to view, download, or delete Picasa Web Albums, but will not be able to create, organize or edit albums. This functionality is available through Google Photos.

InfoTrends’ Opinion

Companies providing photo management and organization solutions should see this as an opportunity to seek out new customers of their services, as there will likely be people who do not want to put their photo collection into the cloud. At the same time, cloud storage provider may be inclined to expand their services to include a management tool that includes local photos and videos as well.

 

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