Google Drive Storage_Snapseed
December 28, 2012

End Of The Road For Picasa?

Google may have inadvertently hinted at an end-of-life for its desktop photo editing suite Picasa.

When signing up for additional storage with Google Drive, a subtle change details that one’s allotted storage space is no longer shared between Drive and Picasa, replacing the latter with Google+ Photos (see the attached screenshot).

It may not be long before Google cuts Picasa loose or open sources it. The software has not received any substantial updates in a long while.  As additional evidence, the Picasa 3.9 release notes page has a dead link. Another page which features some release notes stops at version 3.6.

One major indicator of the shifting priorities is in Google’s purchase of Nik Software, which makes the excellent desktop and mobile photo editing app Snapseed. It was lauded as a 2011 app of the year on the iPad and has garnered equal praise with versions for iOS and the Mac. Google recently made Snapseed free for iOS and introduced a version for Android.

In the interim Google’s photo services are a disconnected mess. One can store images in Picasa, which will sync albums with Picasa Web Albums and the Android Gallery app. It makes for a Photo Stream-type of experience without the messiness of dealing with iPhoto.

However, the  integration isn’t as neat if you keep all images in Google Drive. While they are accessible from the app, they don’t get the grid-like display found in the Gallery. If you choose to have Google+ automatically upload all the photos taken with your Android camera, this will add them to a folder in the Gallery, which is very convenient for scanning through previous images.

Additionally, Google is continuing to push its users to integrate products with Google+. While this forced integration has been sloppy in some areas (such as contacts on Android) the overall vision is beginning to come to fruition. One can rather easily find recent images and with little effort share them on Google+.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 46 percent of Internet users post original photos online. Given the increased emphasis social networks are placing on photos (Facebook buying Instagram, Twitter enabling image filters), Google is looking to create a superior image-sharing and editing experience. By tightening up much of its photo service integration it has the potential to do so.

Image credit: Google Drive

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