Google Picasa earns enthusiastic reviews from critics who are most impressed with its photo-organizing features, which make it easy to find and catalog large photo libraries. Its image-editing tools are well-liked, though the software doesn't offer the advanced features found on GIMP and in Adobe Photoshop products. But that means it doesn't have a steep learning curve either.
Simple interface. Like many Google tools, Picasa is easy to use and uncluttered. Installation is a breeze. Reviewers love its photo-management features, which make it simple to upload and organize your images. Features include facial recognition, for scanning photos and automatically organizing them by who is in the shot, and geotagging, which lets you add geographic data that can be used for sorting or by other programs (displaying images on a map in Google Earth, for example).
Basic photo-editing tools do the trick. Picasa's image-editing tools can't compare to those in more sophisticated programs, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (Est. $100) , but are powerful enough to handle basic needs, with a few additional tricks such as a brush that lets you retouch just part of an image. Other pluses include sophisticated web integration and even a basic movie editor. However, some reviewers are annoyed that Picasa includes integration with its own Google+ social-networking site, but not Facebook or Flickr, which are undoubtedly more popular. Picasa runs on both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Fast and effective. Reviewers appreciate Picasa's speed when organizing and editing, and tools, such as facial recognition and red-eye correction, work well. Most say that casual users will be happy, but more advanced photographers will prefer more robust software such as that offered by Adobe or GIMP.
The latest version of Google Picasa earns an Editors' Choice award from PCMag.com. "As a standalone photo editing and organizing app, Picasa remains one of the best free options you can choose," says Michael Muchmore.
Review: Google Picasa 3.9, Michael Muchmore, May 15, 2012
2. PC Pro
PC Pro gives Google Picasa a high overall rating of 5 stars (out of 6). Jay Stansfield raves about Picasa's organizational tools, and he finds Picasa fast and easy to use. However, he thinks advanced users should look elsewhere.
Review: Google Picasa 3 Review, Jay Stansfield, March 6, 2012
3. Expert Reviews
Picasa 3.9 gets 4 out of 5 stars from Ben Pitt, and he recommends it for "casual photographers." He's not crazy about its photo-editing tools but thinks it's great for photo management.
Review: Google Picasa 3.9 Review, Ben Pitt, Oct. 9, 2012