(Monday, October 17, 2005 - 07:34 EDT)
News of a new release of Picasa, a popular (and free) photo management program, has reached our mailbox.
First launched by Lifescape Solutions Inc. back at the 2002 Comdex Fall tradeshow, and later taken over by internet heavyweight Google Inc., Picasa is a rather stylish, attractive and functional option for consumers looking to manage their photo collections. The latest release (actually available for almost a month according to the official release notes) has a number of changes:
Picasa can be downloaded free of charge from Picasa's website. The software is available only for computers running Microsoft's Windows 2000 or Windows XP operating systems.
- Multiple interface languages - Picasa is now available in Chinese (simplified and traditional), Dutch, English (U.S. and UK) , French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. When you start Picasa, the software will automatically match your system's native language. To change the language in Picasa, go to Tools > Options. Change the language using the pulldown menu on the "General" tab. You will need to close and re-open Picasa to see your changes take effect.
- BlogThis! - Post a photo to your blog in one click. Picasa's new "BlogThis!" button replaces the "Blogger" button and allows you to upload your photos directly to the Blogger web editor, without the need for a Hello account. To use, select a photo in Picasa and click the "BlogThis!" button. (If you do not have a Blogger.com account, follow the steps on-screen to create one.) When you are signed in to Blogger, the web editor will open. Click "Publish" to post your photo to your blog.
- Print CD covers - Turn any photo into cover art. Click the "Print" button. Go to Tools > Options > Printing. Select "CD Cover Size" and apply. "CD Cover Size" is now one of the print layout choices.
- Improved RAW handling - Picasa supports more RAW formats and cameras in this release, with improved color-balance support and faster speed. Work with your highest quality files from these camera manufacturers: Canon (.CRW, .CR2), Nikon (.NEF), Olympus (.ORF), Pentax (.PEF), Kodak (.DCR), Sony (.SRF), Minolta (.MRW), and Fujifilm(.RAF). New models supported include the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (aka the 350D), Pentax *istDS, Konica/Minolta Maxxum7D (aka the Dynax 7D).
- External drives - Find photos on external drives using Picasa. Simply go Tools > Folder Manager to choose whether Picasa should scan a connected external drive to find pictures. When you unplug and reconnect, Picasa will find your pictures instantly (with no scanning), and will also preserve your labels