Farewell, Picasa

February 21, 2021

After nearly fifteen years of using Picasa as my primary photo software, I’ve finally admitted that it’s gone, and that I have to say goodbye. Google stopped supporting Picasa in 2016, and in 2020, the Mac OS update killed it and it will no longer work at all. Google acquired and started distributing Picasa in 2004, and I think I’ve been using it since 2006, so it had a solid run. Why am I mourning the loss of this probably long-forgotten program? In a nutshell, it was fast, intuitive, and integrated well with my blogging and photo-sharing workflows, and now I have to develop an entirely new workflow. In my Picasa workflow, when I saved my photos to my hard drive or external drive, they would be automatically imported and easily navigated; I could edit them in Picasa, and Picasa would automatically save back-up copies of the original images; and I could export directly from Picasa to Google Web Albums or Blogger or even Snapfish, where my images were then available for easy use. This workflow assumed that my photos did not originate on the web, which was no longer true once I started using a Pixel cell phone. The Pixel is now my primary (and only) camera, so all my photos are now on the web too, which makes them easier to share and use. But Google Photos has a very limited set of organizational tools, and I have never enjoyed editing photos on the web; I prefer to download them to my hard drive for backup purposes. My new blog also doesn’t have Google Photos integration, so I have to download any photos I want to use here. Besides, Google Photos on the web does not integrate with my massive pre-Pixel photo collection on my hard drive, so it’s useless as a general purpose photo organization software. In short, the Picasa desktop-based workflow worked well for me for a long time, and change is hard.

Speaking of remembrance of software past - I have been using Feedly as a replacement for the defunct Google Reader for years now, and would highly recommend them if you rely on a feed reader, as I do. I also still miss Winamp as a music player; Google (now Youtube) Music was ok, but has always had the worst search ever, and Youtube Music has one of the worst interfaces ever. But Winamp doesn’t really exist for Mac (I switched from Windows to Mac for my personal computer in 2019) and it hasn’t really been developed in a long time, so I feel stuck with Youtube Music for now.

I’m going to try using digiKam as my new photo organization software - we’ll see how that goes! It lacks the approachable and user-friendly interface of Picasa; but it can export directly to the web and integrate with online services, and it does have direct integration with Google Photos, so if I make an album there, I can directly download it to my external hard drive with digiKam. For editing, I will have to use Photoshop or Camera Raw, which always feels like overkill, but is of course the gold standard. I don’t do much photo editing so it’s probably not a big deal. Hopefully this will not feel like a downgrade. So thanks, Picasa, for your service; I will always appreciate the many years of photo organization that I enjoyed with you.

Picasa screenshot - library view Screenshot of the Picasa library view

Picasa screenshot - image view Screenshot of the Picasa image view