Picasa Summary: IPTC, DB3 & Backup Issues

by JL Beeken on 6-05-2010

PicasaDue to the fact that I’ve written several times about Picasa, I have people coming to JLog everyday as a result of their queries on the search engines. Here’s a sampling of searches from the past couple of days:

picasa db3
picasa show all geotags on map
picasa “unknown person” copy contacts
db3 picasa
picasa2\db3 Picasa2\contacts
picasa copy geotag from one picture
.pal picasa
does-google-picasa-store-metadata-in-the-pictures
unknown person picasa
picasa tags iptc

I uninstalled Picasa from my computer, again, a few months ago. Which is why I’m hoping people will not depend on what I might have said in old blog posts. There were times, off and on, when I was interested in using it and even recommended it. I no longer do.

To summarize, these were the problems I discovered with Picasa:

1. It forced a rewrite of my IPTC data that messed around with the ‘State/Province’ field entered by other software. This would be aggravating enough if I only had 100 photos. Since I have around 12,000 it was total insanity. I couldn’t duplicate the problem today moving photos from Picasa on my laptop to my desktop where I do not have Picasa installed. Maybe they fixed it but something to watch out for. (IPTC: Picasa)

2. It did not, and still doesn’t, tag TIFFs properly although it pretends that it does. (IPTC: Picasa & Tags)

3. There was not, and still isn’t, simple backup for the face-tagging. I narrowed it down to the db3 folder, so I kept a copy of that and kept the INI files that show up in all folders containing photos indexed by Picasa. In case I might want to try again someday and it might be possible to copy the db3 folder back to the installation and not lose my previous work. Of course, if the developers move things around in their ongoing reconstruction of this software, they could toast that option. (Picasa Backup)

If you don’t care about Problems 1. and 2. you can get around the backup problem by using Picasa‘s built-in Backup function. Picasa backs up to disk only. If you already have photo backups to external drives or online, this will be redundant but it will probably keep your Picasa-embedded tags, etc as they were.

I don’t need Picasa for anything. I have all the photo organizing, photo editing and IPTC-ing options that I can use and it’s not complicated. It all works and it works in harmony.

Photo Organizer – my own simple folder arrangements, any number of things for searching if I need to
Photo Editor – Adobe Elements mostly
IPTC & GPS – Photo Mechanic

The only way I can keep up to date on Picasa is to run an installation on my seldom-used laptop, far away from my regular work, with photos I don’t care about. Which I’ve done today in order to write this post. Hauling in an extra computer table from the garage to fiddle around with an aggravating piece of software is not my idea of a fun or productive day.

In its favor, it’s only aggravating because I want it to do things it’s not designed to do. Picasa has been ‘evolving’ for years and, essentially, it hasn’t moved an inch. It’s intended for people with JPGs coming off their digital cameras, looking for lightweight annotation and ways to share them using other Google products; Google Earth, Blogger and Picasa Web Albums. Marketing being what it is, I doubt very much if Google will ever be interested in making it more than that.

IMO, Picasa is not appropriate for genealogy work. It is not photo-restoration software. I mention it because that’s been a question at the LUG lately. It is not TIFF-annotation-friendly and any self-respecting genealogist will be scanning, editing and saving their photos as TIFFs. And it does not have the capacity for full annotation even on JPGs.

I hope that answers any lingering wonderments. I don’t expect the traffic from Google to stop because people have questions. This is just an attempt to summarize what I know so people don’t feel led astray. Theoretically, I could use Picasa as a file-browser for the photos that come off my digital camera but I don’t see any point.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ginger Smith 6-07-2010 at 8:13 AM

I agree 100%!!! I cannot stand Picasa. I have uninstalled it from my PC several times.

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