In these last couple of days, I got a chance to try out this new service from Google - its called Picasa Web Albums, obviously to organise your photographs online. And so far it has impressed me enormously. Organising photographs online has never been so easier. The best feature is its seamless intregation with Picasa, a photo organising software that Google acquired few years ago. You get 250MB of storage in FREE version of the service, and if its not enough, you can subscribe to a paid service for $25 a year, which gives you a whopping 6GB storage. If you have a Gmail account, and use Picasa to organise photographs then thats all you need. All you need to do is select the photographs you want to appear on your online album and click a button on Picasa (latest beta version) that says WebAlbums, and thats all you have to do really (of course you have to be connected to the internet :-)...well, who isn't thesedays, eh?). You give the name and (an optional) description for your album and the next minute it'll upload the pictures you selected and the album will be online instantly. Below are a few pictures of my Test-Drive Picasa Web Albums in action.
Picasa (beta) showing the integrated features for Web Albums service. The small red rectangled area at the bottom is the button for publishing the selected photographs (larger red rectangled area at the bottom) to Web Album. Once the photographs have been uploaded using this button, that little Picasa sign shows up at the bottom corner of each uploaded picture (red circled area). This means you know exactly which pictures are online and which are not, even without checking your online albums! The best feature of all? your friends, family members or whoever that knows your Web Albums URL can use Picasa to download the entire albums to their PCs (of course you can decide whether to give them access/permission to do so!).
My Picasa Web Albums main (home) page. Here you can see the cover photographs for each of my albums with the album name, date, and number of photographs on each album. You can also choose to list your albums publicly or unlist them. The albums that are not listed (see "Unlisted" mark on the picture) are not seen by others when they visit your album home page BUT they can view the album if they know the exact URL...so you can give the exact URLs to whoever you want to show the unlisted albums without much hassle with the logins or registrations.
When you click on the album cover photographs, you are taken to the main page for that specific album. Here, you can view thumbnails for all the photographs in that album, start a slideshow, or rearrange the pictures. You can share the album with others with a click, change the size of the thumbnails, or change other album properties, such as whether to publicly list it or not. Finally, you can delete the album from here OR download it to your computer using Picasa.
This image shows the window where you can rearrange (change the order of) the photographs in a specific album. You can just click and drag photographs around or Ctrl click to drag more than one image at a time!
Finally, this image shows the slideshow in progress. On the slideshow, the whole background turns black giving that "real" slideshow feel. And if you click F11 on most browsers thesedays, they go full-screen without the toolbars, which gives you the sensation of offline slideshows on desktops!
This was never meant to be a proper review of Picasa Web Albums, so forgive me if my writing above was incoherent. So far everything about Picasa (beta) and the Web Albums have impressed me a great deal. My only wish from Google is that they release a Mac version of Picasa soon so that I can use this great service to organise my pictures online from any of my computers.