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Google Picasa’s Lesser Known Features

Written by Matt on June 20, 2008 – 6:54 pm -

Google’s Picasa, now at version 2.7, has really matured in the past few months. The last time I tried it, it was still in its infancy, very slow, buggy, and was yet to be perfected. I tried it again over the weekend, and was simply stunned. Not only does it display images very smoothly and flawlessly, it is also packed with eye candy and extra features. So here it is, a list of Picasa’s lesser known features.

  • Create Video (Create–>Movie)

Simply select the photos you’d like, click (Create–>Movie), and then follow the simple prompts. Before long, you’ll have yourself a nice AVI file like the one below.

  • Create Collage (Create–>Picture Collage)

Once again, simply select the desired photos, click (Create–>Picture Collage), and select the desired effect. Within seconds you’ll have a collage simular to the one below.

  • Export HTML Gallery (Folder–>Export as HTML Page)

After taking several hundred photos, who really wants to manually create thumbnails of larger images, and then create an HTML page with the thumbnails linking to the larger images? Picasa makes this easy for you. Simply select the folder you want, click (Folder–>Export as HTML Page), then select a template, resolution, title, and destination. Within a few momments, you’ll have a full fledged HTML photo gallery. For an example gallery, click here.

  • Create A Gift CD (Folder–>Create a Gift CD)

Remember all those times that after burning a CD full of vacation pictures for family, you have to instruct over the phone how they can view the photos on the CD? With Picasa, simply select the folder you want to share, click(Folder–>Create a Gift CD), and Picasa will burn a CD with an autorunner, that way when your computer naive relatives insert the CD into their computer, the images will automatically pop up with different albums and slideshows. This slideshow also works perfect in Wine in a Linux environent, minus the autorun feature.

  • Backup Pictures (Tools–>Backup Pictures)

After taking hundreds if not thousands of photos on vacation, the worst thing that can happen to them is for them to be lost. No matter how many hard drives you keep the pictures mirrored on, you need an off site backup as well. Picasa makes this extremely easy, and only costs the price of a CD. Whatever your usual method of burning photos to CD’s is, Picasa will top it. Not only does it do the basic burning of the CD, it also keeps a record of which images have been backed up. Go on vacation, backup those photos. Christmas (hundreds of photos later) comes and goes, and you click the (Tools–>Backup Pictures) button again, and it knows you’ve already backed up your vacation photos, so it only burns the photos you haven’t backed up. For anyone that takes plenty of photos, this will save you hours every month.

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