10) Picasa runs on MAC OS 10 (Intel), Windows, and Linux. Any computer can run Picasa.
9) Picasa is non-destructive. Picasa will not overwrite or change your original files. You can not accidentally overwrite your image files (a.k.a. make a horrible mistake) unless you "save" your work. This brings me to number 8....
8) You never need to save with Picasa. Saving your work is so 20th century. Picasa does give you the option of saving changes you make to your work, but you don't need to... EVER. As a matter of fact, I would recommend you do not save your work at all. This may seem counterintuitive to first time users so let me explain my logic.
Picasa saves what you do as you go in small text files. You may never see these files, but they exist for a specific reason: to give you flexibility to re-edit your images hours, days, weeks, months, or even years in the future with Picasa. If you tweak a photo with the fill light tool (for example), Picasa remembers it forever with these hidden text files. About two years ago I bought a new computer to replace my desktop. I transferred my photos from the old to the new computer via portable hard drive and installed a new version of Picasa. When I opened up Picasa for the first time on my new computer, everything was exactly as I left it on the old computer. My albums, photo tweaks, and even undo options were all available. It was like I was still using my old computer. Moral of the story: Picasa remembers everything you have done to any photograph ever. This is an incredibly powerful feature not available in higher end software suites. The quickest way to lose this flexibly is to save your work. Saving your work in Picasa will make any changes you have made to the photo(s) you are working with permanent and all undo options disappear.
7) Picasa finds all your photographs in minutes and updates changes to photographs in milliseconds. When Picasa is first installed it will find every photograph ever uploaded to your computer. You may be surprised (pleasantly or otherwise) with what Picasa finds. When Picasa is open, it monitors your computer for image files. Changes made to images, even by programs outside of Picasa, are immediately recognized and updated. It is also worth noting that Picasa finds your pictures where they live on your computer. It does not move your pictures around your hard drive, make copies of them, or change them in any way. This is not the case with other popular pro-sumer programs (like iPhoto).
6) Lightning fast Google-like search features and room to grow. I currently have 44, 415 photographs on my computer.
I have access to any one of these photographs instantly thanks to an intuitive design and Google-like search features. As I mentioned, Picasa finds images on your computer. It does not move them around or upload copies of the images into a new folder like Apple's iPhoto does, for example. This ensures that Picasa is lightning fast to open and equally quick when you search for specific images. This also guarantees that Picasa will not slow down as more images are catalogued in the program (again, something iPhoto can not claim). Many other programs offer search features, but, in my opinion, Picasa delivers in the same way Google does for Internet data. It makes sense that the online search leader has perfected image searching.
6) Seamless integration with dozens of reputable online printing and merchandizing vendors and social networking websites.
With Picasa you are one click away from the photo printing services offered by Wal-Mart, Shutterfly, Kodak, Walgreens, etc. You can shop for the products/prices/services you specially need. You are not tied into proprietary printing services that are often tethered to other photo editing software packages. You are also one click away from posting images to blogs, Facebook, Flickr, etc. if you are into that type of thing.
5) Serviceable photo editing. This is not Picasa's strongest suite but gets a better than passing grade, especially for the novice/beginning photographer. You may brighten highlights, darken shadows, adjust fill lights, correct color, etc. Picasa also offers a variety of useful and useless filters.
4) Excellent retouching/red eye removal. The Picasa retouching tool is the best I've used. It puts the clone stamp in Adobe Photoshop/Elements to shame. The same can be said for the Red Eye Remover. Again, the best I've used. If only everything could be this easy.
Red Eye Before:
Red Eye After:
3) One click integration with Photoshop and other editing software. Picasa allows, with a simple right click, the ability to open images in Abode Elements, Photoshop, etc. This allows Picasa to serve as a stand alone photo editor or as just one piece of your digital workflow.
2) Reasonably good camera raw support. This is Picasa's greatest strength and weakness.
Strength: I have shot exclusively in Raw formats for years now. With Picasa, all raw formats are instantly recognized and displayed as image files. This is not the case with countless other photo software packages which require CDs, drivers, software updates, etc. to display Raw files correctly. This is a huge plus for Picasa.
Weakness: However, when a Raw file is imported into Picasa, the program tries to auto correct Raw images without warning. There is no "undo" or way, that I've found, it stop Picasa from asserting its own corrections on the way the image is displayed. Picasa, as I said previously, does not edit the file, but it does change the way the Raw file is displayed in Picasa. Sometimes this is not a huge issue and the Picasa tweaks are fine. However sometimes this can be extreme annoying. Picasa development team... are you listening??!!
1) It's Free. I can't say this enough. It's totally free. I'm not sure I've used a piece of software that is better than Picasa, free or otherwise. Several different photo editing/organization programs have one or more of the above features. However, it is rare to find all ten in the same (free) piece of software.