Picasa is a free and powerful software program for viewing, organizing, editing and sharing your digital photos and videos. Created for the beginning and the casual digital photographer, Picasa has the capabilities for you to store all your pictures in one place, sort them into albums, do quick edits, and easily share your photos with family and friends plus much, much more.

Originally created by a company called Lifescape, Picasa has been owned by Google since 2004. Version 3.9 was just released in April and works with both Windows and Mac OS X system software.

Basic features

Organizing: Picasa automatically scans your computer for pictures and organizes into them albums based on the folders on your hard drive.

Importing: Additional pictures from USB cameras, scanners, memory card readers, flash drives and your CD drive are automatically imported.

Editing: Remove red-eye, crop, rotate, straighten, one-click enhance, auto and manual tuning, add text, retouch. If desired, all edits can be immediately reversed.'

One-click effects: Sharpen, tint, black and white, sepia, soft focus, glow, saturation, heat map and more.

Add tags: By applying single or multiple-word tags in Picasa, you can quickly search and locate specific photos. The Tags tab offers quick tags, tag counts and the ability to manage your tags.

Add captions: Adding captions can help tell the rest of the story. While editing a photo, click the text below that says 'Make a caption!'

Easy access: With a Google account, access your pictures anytime, anywhere from a computer, laptop or mobile phone with Internet access.

Sharing: If have a gmail account, you can share your web albums with friends and family directly by using Google+ or indirectly choosing “share an album via link”  for friends and family who do not have a Google+ account.

Order prints: Via Picasa, pictures, posters and CDs can be ordered directly from many of your favorite online providers including Snapfish, Shutterfly, Walgreens Photo Center and Walmart Photo.

Advanced features

Collages: Make a collage and share it with your friends and family. Experiment with six different types of collages, and maintain total control over your collage content and layout.

MovieMaker: Combine your photos, videos, and music into a movie and upload it directly to YouTube.

Facial recognition: Picasa can scan your photos for faces, then it groups together photos of specific people. It's then your job to tell it who they are as well as confirm its guesses.

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification information to your photos. Using either GPS information from when the photo is taken or “attaching” the photograph to a map after the picture is taken using Google Maps, Picasa has the capability to add this geo-tag info to all your pictures.

Back up your collection: Protect those precious memories. Use Picasa to backup your photos to an alternate drive or backup your photos to a CD or DVD.

Storage limitations

Google Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos give you 15 GB of storage space for free, so you can keep your files, emails, and photos accessible from any device, anywhere. If you reach the free storage limit, the cost of additional storage is very reasonable starting at $4.99 a month for 100 GB and $9.99 for 200 GB.

To download and get started with Google’s Picasa, go to

John Lucas is the owner of Your Computer Tutor which provides personalized home computer instruction and technical support for both Macs and PCs in the Portland metro area. A retired teacher with a master's in library science, Lucas welcomes questions about common computer issues. Reach him by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-333-8542.

Let’s Talk About Your Computer

WHAT: Computer Tutor John Lucas will show you how to get the most out of your computer with one-on-one tutoring sessions.

WHERE: The Charles Jordan Community Center Computer Lab, 9009 N. Foss Ave., Portland.

WHEN: Tuesday mornings by appointment.

COST: Free.

NEED TO REGISTER: Yes. Call the Hollywood Senior Center at 503-288-8303 for appointments or more information.

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