Picasa for Mac

Yesterday, Google announced a beta version Picasa for Mac. Picasa is an application that is designed to make finding, sharing, and editing your photos easy. I had a chance to download and use the Mac OS X version app for the first time yesterday shortly before the release, and I was pretty impressed.

Picasa is an intuitive application. It quickly found every image on my hard drive, but didn’t try to reorganize them. I’m primarily a Lightroom user, I really appreciate that Picasa found all of my images and allowed me to view, upload, and even edit them without doing trying to restructure, move, or change a thing. The integration and syncing with the Picasa online gallery is outstanding, the basic editing tools are effective and handy, and the collage tools are cool.

One area that I feel could use some improvement, though, would be the user interface. Generally speaking, Mac users like Mac OS X because it provides a consistent, reliable, trustworthy interface and user experience. We know how things should work, and what to expect. Applications that step outside of that framework, creating an entirely new user experience with its own set of rules, physics, default options, and base for user interaction, regardless of how great they might be, can have a jarring effect on the user.

While this kind of thing is typical in third-party Windows applications (probably because the Windows user interface is so lacking and prime for improvement), on Mac OS X, it’s an impediment. Many of us don’t want to learn how to use a new interface. We just want to get our stuff done.

I’m hoping that a future version of Picasa might be designed for Mac OS X, as opposed to running on Mac OS X. Now that would be a killer app indeed.

User interface issues aside, I think that Picasa is a great app with lots of potential, and it’s certainly worth checking out.

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