Picasa is Google's free online web album. Version 3.5 has just been released, so I decided to give it a try. I am already using several web albums to display my photos(see links on my blog), so I will only use Picasa if it is worth the trouble. After using it for a few days, I am beginning to like it. Let me tell you more.
First of all, I like the simplicity. I want to be able to maintain my online album with minimum fuss. Picasa does that for me. There are three things you have to do to use Picasa: a) sign up for a free account; b) download and install Picasa on your computer; c) choose the folders on your computer to upload and synch with Picasaweb. That's all the hard work. From that point onwards, whatever you add or delete from the assigned folders on your computer is synchronized almost immediately to the web gallery.
Typical of Google, the user interface of Picasa is pleasingly useful in a simplistic way. It gives me an alternative way to open up my picture folders without navigating through a lot of irrelevant folders. There is an option of either dealing directly with your folders or assigning "albums". In Picasa terminology, albums are like pseudo folders. You can assign pictures from various folders into one album. I prefer to deal with real folders, though. With real folders, when you manipulate the files outside of Picasa, the same will be seen when you open Picasa. This looks like a petty detail, but I think it is very important. I don't like all the "file missing" prompts one gets when a cataloged file is unwittingly moved around (which happens when you use programs like Photoshop Lightroom or ACDSee) .
As for editing and other features, you'll have to check out for yourself. All I can say is, they are very useable. Picasa in my opinion is great for people who want to store pictures on the web without actually doing anything once your have enabled the synch mode on selected folders. It is also great as an alternative way to view your photos without navigating through a bunch of irrelavant files. To see my work-in-progress Picasa album, go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/howyitmeng