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The End of the Road for Picasa

By: Jamie Atkins

Q. Is Google ever going to update the Picasa program again?

A. Google announced last month that as of March 15, it will no longer update or support its free Picasa photo-editing program for Windows and OS X. The software will not stop working after next week, but because the company has ceased development, there will be no more updates to add features, fix bugs or enhance the program in any way.

Picasa has been around since 2001 and was acquired by Google in 2004, but the company's launch of its own stand-alone Google Photos app last year has meant the retirement of Picasa. Google Photos, which works through your web browser and your Google Account, is also available as an Android and iOS app for mobile devices.

Like Picasa, Google Photos can also be used to edit and organize your photos, and you can share albums with friends and back up your photo collection online for safekeeping. However, the Picasa Web Albums online photo-sharing service will change as of May 1, 2016, and some features will stop working. Google plans to move existing web-based albums (with all their photo tags and comments) into a new online space to preserve them, but you will not be able to create or edit new Picasa Web Albums.

The company suggests logging into Google Photos instead of Picasa Web Albums to edit your web-based Picasa files, as your pictures and videos will be available there as well. If you do decide to switch to Google Photos from Picasa, you can download a program to automatically upload the pictures stored on your computer's hard drive to the Google Photos online server.

If you would rather stick to a familiar desktop-based editing program, you can keep using the final desktop version of Picasa, even though its Web Albums feature is ending. Microsoft Photos for Windows 10 (or its Photo Gallery program for older versions of Windows) or Apple's Photos for OS X are easy-to-get alternatives, as is the free, open-source GIMP software for Windows, Mac and Linux. Paid programs like the Adobe Photoshop line or ACDSee's image-editing software ( acdsee.com ) are other options.

James Atkins is an professional photographer who uses photo management software to manage his growing collection of tens of thousands of photos and other images.

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