I am a big fan of Picasa.

The Gotham Gal and I use Picasa on our PCs to manage our photo libraries.

We also use iPhoto on our kitchen Powerbook and the kids use iPhoto on their iMacs.

What we need is a server in our basement that all of these programs talk to as the central repository, but that’s the topic of another post.

Picasa just released a new version, Picasa2.

You can get it here.

Picasa2 is a big improvement. The initial version of Picasa was nice, but not great.  I liked the UI and the similarity with iPhoto and the price (free).

Picasa2 brings a major improvement in photo editing tools.  From the simple Are You Feeling Lucky button which always seems to do the right enhancement, to the Fine Tuning and Effects tabs which let you tinker away to your hearts delight.

Hp_707 My HP Photosmart 5.1 Megapixel camera is nice but I find that I often end up with pictures that are too dark, particularly pictures taken inside at a distance, like Jessica’s play or the kid’s basketball games.

The original version of Picasa really couldn’t fix these pictures, but Picasa2 does a much nicer job.

Picasa2 offers a windows screensaver which I really like (its possible that the initial version had this feature but I never could find it).  And there’s a cleaner and more functional interface.

All in all, I really like Picasa2 and recommend it highly to anyone looking for a good windows-based digital photo library.  For the Mac users, stick with iPhoto, there’s nothing better than that! 

In fact, in his interview with John Batelle, the CEO of Picasa, Lars Perkins, acknowledges that iPhoto is great and says that Picasa is not doing a Mac version as a result.

But the thing that bothers me about Picasa, and is certainly related to Google’s ownership of Picasa, is the lack of an online integration plan.  Today you can share photos in Picasa with friends using Picasa’s proprietary Hello system which is like an IM client with real time photo sharing.  No thanks.

Or Picasa allows its users to upload photos to Google’s Blogger service.  Great if you use Blogger.  It sucks if you don’t.

What I want is integration with Flickr and TypePad.  What I’d like to see Picasa do is integrate with everyone.  If Google was really thinking right, that’s what they’d do.  Open systems are best for everyone, Google included.

#VC & Technology