Google Picasa 2
The app's improved photo-enhancement tools are handy, its integration with other Google services is seamless, and its speedy interface is fun to use. Oh, and you just can't beat that price.
Google's Picasa 2 photo application is fast, fun, and free. The new version builds on the original's strengths (namely its image-handling speed) and significantly improves on its weaknesses (specifically its photo-editing capabilities). However, while some users will embrace the app's take-charge method of photo organization, others will likely chafe under its rules.
We tested a shipping version of Picasa 2. The first time you launch the app, it gives you the option to scan specific folders on your PC (like My Documents or My Pictures) or your entire hard drive and connected drives for photos. Scan time depends on the number of shots you have, but as with most Google-powered searches it's an amazingly speedy process.
Picasa 2 goes on to sort the photos it finds, showing folders containing all the images that reside in one place on the disc (for example, your Desktop), and then listing the images by creation date (the program determines the year by looking at data stored within each photo); you can also sort folders by name or by date last changed.
The sorting process sounds straightforward, and for newer digital camera owners with small, scattered image collections it should work well. However, as someone who's already done some rudimentary image organization of our own growing collection (using both Windows Explorer and competing photo-organizing programs), we found the app's propensity to reshuffle our folders a bit frustrating.
It would be extremely helpful to have a sorting option that is similar to Windows Explorer, complete with folder hierarchies and the ability to create subfolders. That way, folks like us who are used to the Explorer-like structure can easily find, organize, and navigate their photo albums. True, Picasa 2 lets you rework the folder names and other details it serves up, but doing so felt a bit like redoing work we'd already done. Plus, it wouldn't let us perform tasks such as reorganizing or moving our existing folders, or creating subfolders.
While we found Picasa 2's organization abilities frustrating, I was pleasantly surprised by the app's improved photo-editing capabilities. In addition to basic fixes such as crop, straighten, and red-eye removal, easy-to-use tools let you fine-tune highlights, shadows, and color temperature, as well as apply tints and effects like soft focus. And if you're dissatisfied with the changes, you can simply undo them.
Granted, you'll find these tools in most entry-level photo applications, but Picasa 2's simple interface and fast response times make it remarkably fun to use. For example, when we adjusted the Fill Light slider to increase an image's brightness (similar to adjusting the volume on your stereo), Picasa 2 displayed the result on screen instantly.
Picasa 2 also makes it easier to share your images with family and friends. You can quickly create contact sheets, slide shows, and CD-ROMs, and you can upload photos to Google's Blogger service as well as to photo-finishing services such as Ofoto, Shutterfly, and Snapfish.
Sending photos electronically is also a breeze: The software automatically maps to your e-mail program during installation. Picasa 2 does an excellent job of integration with Google's other services as well, including its Web-based Gmail service and its Hello photo-chat service.
Despite our issues with its photo-management capabilities, Picasa 2 is a sensible tool for those new to digital imaging, as well as for slightly more experienced photographers looking to upgrade from the basic photo-editing app that shipped with their camera.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Lenovo to integrate Amazon Alexa in Moto smartphones
- Google will start adding Assistant to Nougat and Marshmallow phones this week
- Google's new AI aims to end abusive online comments using 'Perspective'
- Village Roadshow aims to block 40 pirate sites
- Analysts peer into Microsoft's rumored Windows 10 Cloud
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- TPAgile Project Manager. Sharepoint / PeoplesoftNSW
- FTTechnical Team Leader | ArchitectQLD
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTSalesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- TPFull Stack .NET DeveloperWA
- TPProject Manager | HealthQLD
- FTSenior Software EngineerVIC
- CCSenior Systems EngineerNSW
- TPBusiness Process Analyst (Newcaslte Based)NSW
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- CCData Engineer (Java/ Data/ Big Data Developer)VIC
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst AO7QLD
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- CCSenior C++ .Net DeveloperWA
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTSales Account Manager | Cloud Solutions | Global Tech GiantNSW
- FTDeveloper - Java/J2EEQLD