Thursday, June 15, 2006

Picasa Web Album Bug Update

A couple of helpful comments have helped clarify the problem. The problem, in turn, brings up a larger question regarding web apps like Picasa.

Readers observed that right-clicking an album image and selecting "View Image" (to load the image in the browser by itself, as with any webpage) loaded a properly-scaled image, and that the image was also downloaded at the correct size. I also noticed that the "Slideshow" also displays photos at the correct size, a fact I verified using an image-measuring browser mod of my own invention (open-source, of course):

But why resize images in the main view window at all? This is the first thing anyone sees when they visit your public albums, and depending on their purposes, they could easily do all their viewing without entering a mode in which the image was displayed at the proper size. (Personally, I avoid slide show modes in most cases; I like to browse thumbnails and select what I'd like to view at full size, especially if photos are provided in "snapshot" quantities.) For people sharing travel pics, this may not matter. But for a large segment of potential users who shoot casually but whose aesthetics and attention to craft push them into the realm of true amateur photography, this will matter a great deal.

The relative significance of this bug depends on what kind of photo-sharer you are, and on whether Google is more concerned about competing with many-to-many photo-sharing sites like Flickr or with one-to-many sites like Shutterfly. I'd put my bets on Flickr - it matches the low-overhead, drive-'em-to-the-ads strategy behind Google Spreadsheets and the rest of their recent labware. The Flickr users are the users who will care.

But Google doesn't have to chose. Sure, Google's beta software is more stable than most Microsoft official releases, and I understand we're taking this sucker for a test drive. But let's not call a bug a feature. Picasa can have the best of both worlds - all Google has to do is fix this bug.

If you're looking for a general description of features, the quick and dirty is: Albums can be public or unlisted (address must be typed in); it's easy to upload lots of pics at once, and to rearrange within and between albums; at least for now, there's a 250 MB storage cap; and it has a built-in email announcement function. If you like more words with your facts, see the friendly folks at Ziff-Davis Media.

1 comment:

adventures said...
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