02132: Goodbye Picasa

So Google is finally pulling the plug on Picasa in favor of Google Photos. This was pretty much inevitable once Google Photos has been introduced in the first place as the standalone, evolved version of the photo enhancement features baked into Google+. And with Google disentangling more and more of its services from Google+, there seemed to be a bit of a rush to make Google Photos more relevant.

And while Google Photos is a pretty solid product, especially when it comes to figuring out what to do with photos while on a mobile device, I have to admit that I've been really happy with Picasa over these many years. I didn't really bother too much with Picasa's desktop-based photo organization capabilities, but I did rely on it a lot for its photo editing suite, especially when it came down to handling large batches of photos, like after a fun night at O Bar. And now that chapter of my tech life is coming to a close, in a manner of speaking.

I guess the decision to scrap Picasa is tied to how we've changed the way we handle our photo collections. It's no longer about keeping everything organized on a single device but making them more accessible and useful by storing the stuff in the cloud. Google Photos nicely reflects this philosophy by making it easier to upload your stuff with the cloud  without thinking and leaving it to algorithmically play with your photos and videos to make something new.

What annoys me is how Google Photos doesn't really do much to enhance photos. It has a desktop feature that automatically backs up stuff to the web and that's it - it just throws it up there. For a time Google+ had an Auto-Enhance feature before Google Photos came around but for some reason they didn't integrate this option into the feature set. Sure, not many of us used Auto Enhance before since we were already tweaking photos offline via Picasa, ironically enough. So there was no need to Auto Enhance after all the time spent enhancing photos on our own. And now that Picasa is going away, you'd think that someone would consider bringing Auto-Enhance back or something. But we'll see.

And while the desktop app will still be usuable even after the close up shop for Picasa, it'll be an unsupported app that will eventually not be so useful since it won't play nice with how Google Photos is handling photo collections online anymore. And so I'm trying to bite the bullet my dealing with the last of my offline albums in my "traditional" way and shifting to the automatic backups of raw photos to Google Photos before the month ends.

This is probably the next biggest change to my workflow since Google shuttered Google Reader back in 2013. But I should have better prepared for it, I think. After all, Google has always been one for spring cleaning and this is probably the first of many announcements of other Google services being optimized in favor of more "important" projects.