I began writing about geotagging with Picasa in another post, but I realized Google changes their photo products so ridiculously often that I’d better check on any Picasa-related news. (See Picasa Web Albums, Google+ Photos, Panoramio, Views, Google Photos…)
Lo and behold, the first thing I see is a post from today on the official Picasa blog from the Head of Google Photos, Anil Sabharwal. He says that they are discontinuing the Picasa desktop application on March 15. Wow.
“As of March 15, 2016, we will no longer be supporting the Picasa desktop application. For those who have already downloaded this—or choose to do so before this date—it will continue to work as it does today, but we will not be developing it further, and there will be no future updates.”
He doesn’t actually say it, but it sounds like it will not be available for download any longer after that time (or at least will be hidden in some way).
I’ve used Picasa for a long time, primarily in the past for uploading photos to web albums, and lately for geotagging. It has a lot of great features as a photo organization tool. Of course it’s also a very handy uploader to Google’s photo hosting and sharing platform. I was recently told I must be one of the few people still using it, but I think there are probably lots of others. In any case, Picasa had a really good run, and the developers should be proud.
Picasa Web Albums Situation
The original web sharing component to Picasa, Picasa Web Albums, is still kicking. However, it has long been hidden, redirecting to Google+ Photos. A while back they adjusted the desktop Picasa software to allow uploading to Google+ Photos as well. Currently it can upload to the new Google Photos. So it has certainly been a long time in coming for this part to go away.
Google Photos – the New Thing
Their current photo sharing service is branded Google Photos. It does have its own uploader software for desktop, but that’s about all it is. Judging from the Google Photos app page, they are trying to have you automatically upload your photos like they do on their mobile apps. It certainly won’t allow you to geotag like Picasa does/did. That and all the other mature features of Picasa will be disappearing. As for geotagging online once it’s uploaded, it sounds like that’s not an option either. Strange since that is an option in Google+.
“After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos. We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products.”
More functionality? They could build in a geotagging ability at some point in the future I guess, but they are clearly getting rid of the desktop component. This seems strange to me as a reason to discontinue the Picasa desktop app since it already has the ability to upload to the new Google Photos. They just want to get rid of it and go with the new thing I guess (a new, far more limited Google Photos uploader app). I can understand, and in the end that’s fine with me, as long as they don’t lose tons of features in the process. That’s what they almost did when they started switching Panoramio users to Google Views.
As for geotagging, I
will post shortly have posted about some alternative geotagging methods I’ve already been using.