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I’ve happy to report that at this week’s MacWorld, Google has released a beta of their superb free photo organizer and retoucher, Picasa. 

Picasa was available first on Windows, then curiously on Linux, all before the Mac.

My own first use and other reports show that the Mac implementation of Picasa is both very feature-true to the Windows version and seems faster than Apple iPhoto which since included with a Mac has always been the top choice for Photo organizing on that platform.

I could say that having Picasa now available for the Mac eliminates on the few remaining deficits in the Mac vs. PC debate, but it’s probably more accurate to say, having Picasa for the Mac eliminates one of the last reasons for using Parallels or VMware Fusion to  run Windows on a Mac.

 

From the Google Press Release:

Picasa for Mac makes it easy to manage large photo collections and helps users make professional-looking edits without any technical knowledge, including:

  • A drag-and-drop photo collage tool that gives users control over layout and content
  • A retouching brush to wipe out scratches and blemishes – and repair old photos
  • A slideshow movie maker that uploads users photo montage videos to YouTube with a click
  • Smart auto-cropping that guides user

Picasa for Mac "plays nice" with iPhoto, and takes a read-only approach to editing photos stored in the iPhoto library, duplicating files as needed, so that users’ iPhoto libraries are never affected when they use Picasa. Avid iPhoto users who currently use our Picasa Web Albums Uploader plugin can continue to do so, although features like automatic web sync, photo collages, and more will only be found in the Picasa application.

This first beta of Picasa for Mac matches the speed and most core features of Picasa on Windows — and we’ll be working on more refinements to the Mac interface and feature set as time goes on.

Download Picasa for Mac (beta)

Picasa for Mac running on my laptop.

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