Mar 9, 2007

[Google] Picasa Web Albums Upgrades

Close after the heels of their release of Google Desktop 5 comes the release of several new features to another Google product - Picasa Web Albums.

Picasa Web AlubumsFor those unfamiliar with the service, Picasa Web Albums is a photo-hosting site similar to Flickr. Originally the albums were designed to work solely with their Picasa, which is a photo organizer and baseline editor. Think Adobe Photoshop but more for conventional users. Given it only had 250MB of storage space, it really wasn't much.

Now they've upgraded all users to 1GB of space - 4 times as much as before. In addition, they've also enabled a search facility for those photos which have been uploaded to Picasa. Picasa Web Albums now also work with your Blogger account given any photos you upload via Blogger are now sent to your Picasa Web Album as unlisted images (not available for search). This way you can see and organize your blog-related pictures alongside your uploaded ones. Not too shabby, Google.

Overall, it's an upgrade that has been long overdue given everyone seems to be offering 1GB of photo storage space and beyond these days. The search engine is useful but users still need to enable whether or not they'll allow for their photos to be shared. It also doesn't have any considerations (yet?) for applying Creative Commons licenses to your images like Flickr does, which is essential for truly determining fair use of the community's photos.

While it's not yet time to leave your favorite photo-hosting site just yet, it is a good reason to keep Picasa handy if you want another location to store your photos without restrictions. Hopefully they'll add to the feature set in time to make it a more competitive product.

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