ID:14420 Section: Internet

Updated:Tuesday 14th October 2014

Picasa Definition

(Wikipedia) - Picasa Picasa Original author(s) Developer(s) Initial release Stable release Operating system Type License Website
Picasa version on Windows 8
Lifescape, Inc.
2002; 12 years ago (2002)
  • Windows: (13 August 2014; 61 days ago (2014-08-13))
  • Mac: (12 August 2014; 2 months ago (2014-08-12))
Windows, OS X
Image organizer, image viewer

Picasa is an image organizer and image viewer for organizing and editing digital photos, plus an integrated photo-sharing website, originally created by a company named Lifescape (which at that time may have resided at Idealab) in 2002 and owned by Google since 2004. "Picasa" is a blend of the name of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa (Spanish for "my house") and "pic" for pictures (personalized art). In July 2004, Google acquired Picasa from its original author and began offering it as freeware.

Native applications for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X (Intel only) are available from Google. For Linux, Google has bundled Wine with the Windows version to create an installation package rather than write a native Linux version, but this version is severely out of date (the latest Windows version, however, can be run with Wine; see the Linux section). There is also an iPhoto plugin or a standalone program for uploading photos available for Mac OS X 10.4 and later.

  • 1 Version history
    • 1.1 Windows
    • 1.2 Linux
    • 1.3 Mac OS X
  • 2 Features
    • 2.1 Organization and editing
      • 2.1.1 Keywords
      • 2.1.2 Searching
    • 2.2 Viewing
    • 2.3 Backup
    • 2.4 Face recognition
    • 2.5 Geotagging
  • 3 Other Picasa applications
    • 3.1 Picasa Web Albums
    • 3.2 Hello
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Version history Windows

As of June 2014, the latest version of Picasa is 3.9, which supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and has Google+ integration for users of that service. Version 3.9 also removed integration with Picasa Web Albums for users of Google+.

LinuxKDE Image Plugin Interface (KIPI) export to Picasaweb

Since June 2006, Linux versions have become available as free downloads for most distributions of the Linux operating system. It is not a native Linux program but an adapted Windows version that uses the Wine libraries. Google has announced that there will be no Linux version for 3.5. Currently, Google has only officially offered Picasa 3.0 Beta for Linux.

On April 20, 2012 Google announced that they were deprecating Picasa for Linux and will no longer maintain it on that operating system.

To use latest version of Picasa on Linux, Linux users can use Wine and install Picasa for Windows. Linux users can use other programs to upload to Picasa Web Albums, including Shotwell and Digikam.

Mac OS X

On January 5, 2009, Google released a beta version of Picasa for Mac (Intel-based Macs only). Also, a plugin is available for iPhoto to upload to the Picasa Web Albums hosting service. There is also a standalone Picasa Web Albums uploading tools for OS X 10.4 or later. The Picasa for Mac is a Google Labs release.

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Organization and editing

For organizing photos, Picasa has file importing and tracking features, as well as tags, facial recognition, and collections for further sorting. It also offers several basic photo editing functions, including color enhancement, red eye reduction, and cropping. Other features include slide shows, printing, and image timelines. Images can also be prepared for external use, such as for e-mailing or printing, by reducing file size and setting up page layouts. There is also integration with online photo printing services. Other simple editing features include adding text to the image. Picasa supports Google''s WebP image format as well as the JPG format and most Raw image format (RAW files). A user can view and edit RAW files and save the finished edit (as JPG, or other forms) without any changes to the original RAW file.


Picasa uses picasa.ini files to keep track of keywords for each image. In addition to this, Picasa attaches IPTC Information Interchange Model (IPTC) keyword data to JPEG files, but not to any other file format. Keywords attached to JPEG files in Picasa can be read by other image library software like Adobe Photoshop Album, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, digiKam, Aperture, and iPhoto.

According to the Picasa Readme, Picasa can parse Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) data. However, it cannot search local files for existing XMP keywords.


Picasa has a search bar that is always visible when viewing the library. Searches are live, so that displayed items are filtered as one types. The search bar will search filenames, captions, tags, folder names, and other metadata.

Picasa also has an experimental feature that allows searching for images that contain certain colors with the "color:" operator.


Picasa has no separate view window. There is only an "edit view" with a viewing area. Fullscreen view is available in slideshow mode, by holding down the ctrl+alt keys while in "edit view", or by pressing the Alt Gr key. This feature is also available through the context menu of Windows Explorer, and provides a way to start the Picasa editor as well.


In Picasa 2 and earlier versions, changes to pictures made in Picasa overwrite the original file, but a backup version of the original is saved in a hidden folder named "Originals" in the same folder as the original picture (.picasaoriginals on Mac OS X).

In Picasa 3, changes to pictures made in Picasa are saved to a hidden file picasa.ini in the same folder as the original picture. This allows multiple edits to be performed without altering the original image. Viewing the picture in Picasa or using the Picasa Photo Viewer will apply modifications on the fly, whereas viewing through other programs (such as Windows XP''s Photo and Fax Viewer) will display the original image. Changes can also be made permanent using the "Save" function, where the original file is backed up in a hidden folder .picasaoriginals located in the same folder as the original picture and the modified version is written in its place.

Face recognition

On August 15, 2006, Google announced it had acquired Neven Vision, whose technology can be used to search for features within photos such as people or buildings. Google applied this technology for face recognition, and this functionality was launched on Picasa Web Albums on September 2, 2008.

Neven Vision incorporates several patents specifically centered around face recognition from digital photo and video images.


Since June 2007, Picasa can write geographic coordinates to Exif metadata, thus geotagging an image.

Since version 3.5 of Picasa, Geotagging may be done directly inside Picasa.

The Geotagging functionality is described in the Picasa User''s Guide.

Other Picasa applications Picasa Web Albums

Picasa Web Albums (PWA) is an image hosting and sharing web service from Google, often compared to Flickr and similar sites.

It allows users with a Google account to store and share photos with an initial free storage offering of 15 GB, that is shared with Gmail and Google Drive. Storage is unlimited for photos of resolution less than 2048x2048 pixels for Google+ users, and for photos of resolution less than 800x800 for everyone else. Videos shorter than 15 minutes also don''t count towards the limit. After the limit is reached, photos are automatically resized.

Users may upload pictures through a variety of ways: via the PWA web interface on supported browsers, Picasa 2.5 or later on Microsoft Windows, using the Exporter for iPhoto, the Aperture to Picasa Web Albums plug-in, Uploader on Mac OS X, F-Spot on Linux, or through WAManager in the Amiga-like OS MorphOS. In both free and paid accounts, the actual resolution of the photo is maintained, even though a smaller resolution photo may be displayed by the web interface.

In Picasa 3 versions of the software, using the ''original size'' upload option, pixel size remains the same, but JPEG compression is increased significantly during upload to PWA. As JPEG is a "lossy" format, some picture information (and quality) is lost. Picasa 3.6 added an option to preserve original JPEG quality.

PWA uses an "unlisted number" approach for URLs for private photo albums. This enables a user to email a private album''s URL to anyone, and the recipient can view the album without having to create a user account. This is done via an "authentication key" that must be appended to the URL for the album to be shown. The Picasa Help files say that private albums are not searchable by anyone except the user. Another visibility option named "sign-in required to view" is available. This makes the album viewable only to those with whom the album is explicitly shared.

Ads are shown on the free Picasa Web Albums accounts. The Terms of Service permit Google to use the uploaded photos to display on their website or via RSS feeds, and also for promoting Google services royalty-free. Additionally, the terms permit Google to allow other companies with which they are affiliated to use the uploaded pictures to provide syndicated services. This allowance is perpetual and cannot be revoked by the owner of the photos.

Picasa Web Albums was first leaked on June 6, 2006. When introduced, it came with 250 MB of free space. On March 7, 2007, that was upgraded to 1 GB. As stated above, storage is now unlimited for small and resized photos. Users can rent additional storage space (shared between Gmail, Google Drive and Picasa Web Albums) through a paid monthly subscription plan. Plans are available from 15 GB (free) to 30 TB (US$299.99 per month).

Google integrated Picasa Web Albums into Google+ in 2013. Users who access their Picasa Web Albums automatically get redirected to Google+. Google released the statement: “Google+ is the new home for your photos.” Those who wish to continue using Picasa Web Albums and wish to go to the old website, should use the URL https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1 . Google still seems committed to the Picasa Desktop application.


Hello by Google''s Picasa was a free computer program that enabled users to send images across the Internet and publish them to their blogs. It was similar to an instant messaging program because it allowed users to send text, but Hello focused on digital photographs. Users can opt to view the same pictures as their friends in real-time. One of the advantages claimed at the website is that photos could be shared through firewalls.

Hello''s service was canceled at the end of 2006, and users were instructed to try the Picasa ''Blog This'' functionality for uploading pictures to their blogs. According to the official website, the Hello project was shut down on May 15, 2008.

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