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Beyond Photo Management

Beyond Photo Management

Outside of photo management, Picasa seems to shine much better when compared to the free version of Adobe Photoshop Album. The range of photo fixes available in Picasa is better — and you’ve got to love the one-touch “fix it” feature being renamed “I’m Feeling Lucky.” That’s even more suitable with automatic photo adjusting than searching the web with Google!

I also love — absolutely love — how Picasa doesn’t touch your original photo. Photoshop Album doesn’t as well, but not in as slick a fashion. With Album, if you make an edit, crop, etc — it duplicates your photo and creates a link. You see the edited version, but the original is not touched and always available so you can revert.

With Picasa, edits are stored within picasa.ini files that reside in the same directory as the photos. For example, the program knows you want a photo cropped a certain way, so it presents it to you that way — even though the actual picture isn’t touched. Instead, it reads the picasa.ini file to know how to change things. If you write a photo out of the program, say to a CD, then a copy with the edits are made.

As a result, you can remove changes at any point. “What we wanted to do was let people edit without fear,” said Perkins. At that, the program delivers well.

Picasa also has a range of electronic export options. For example, you can create a “Gift CD” that anyone with a computer can play. You can send to Picasa’s Hello photo sharing site, or Google’s Blogger or to a number of online photo printing stores. By the time of the final release, sending to other online photo sharing sites was also promised. Flickr isn’t on the list, though they could come in the future.

“We’re interested in working with anyone, Perkins said. “We’d like to talk to them. They’re certainly on our list of people we want to work with.”

In contrast, the free version of Photoshop Album has no good electronic sharing features. Move up to the paid version, and you get features like my personal favorite, the ability to make video CDs that will play on virtually any DVD player. Photoshop Elements 3 even allows you to have VCDs that contain menus, so multiple slideshows can be on one CD.

It’s also worth remembering that the tools needn’t be exclusive. Want to send your photos to Blogger? Picasa is free, can read your photos even if you also use another program, so you could use it just as an exporting tool.

In the end, the photo management tools will keep me with Adobe for now. But I’ll be watching Picasa closely as it continues to grow.

What about other tools? There are other choices out there. As I hear of new releases of promising free or affordable products, I’ll bring news your way from a photo management standpoint.