Google announced last month that they were killing off the Picasa App for windows, which has been my main photo app and organizer since about 2003 when it was paid software, long before google acquired it.
This news was horrible for me, but not surprising, since the program hadn’t been updated in a super long time, other than small UI tweaks and buttons to link to Google Services such as the Picasa Web Service, but it was still bad news.
The reason I really liked Picasa was it would automatically index my photo folders, and quickly add them to the database and sort them via date, Detect faces, easily allow tags to be added, lightweight, fast, and used very few resources.
The program still runs fine, I never have any real issues with it, and I could potentially use it for many more years, but the fact that it wont be updated or supported means that it’s probably best to try to at least find an alternative.
I’ve tried many programs over the years, such as Adobe Lightroom, ACDsee, and Windows Live Photo Gallery, none of them seemed to achieve what I was wanting, which was to organize my photo collection and sort them by date.
Lightroom is great for editing and tweaking photos, which is what I mainly use it for, but its resource intensive and slow. You have to manually import Photos/folders, and it sorts them via a folder list. I want the program to take all my photos from all the folders in my list, and sort them via date, as Picasa did. I can’t seem to get Lightroom, or an other Photo Organizer to do this. Lightroom will allow the thumbnail list be sorted by date, but it’s very unintuitive and hard to differentiate since its all bunched together. Which is too bad, because over all Lightroom is nice. It could just be that I need to give lightroom a bit more time and mess around with it more.
ACDsee has a nice new feature called “Photos”, which sorts images in a timeline, but much like Lightroom, it too is bulky and slow, and you have to manually tell it to rescan the folders to detect changes such as removed, or added photos.
I was really learning towards ACDsee, but while writing this article I decided to check out the built in Photos APP in Windows 10.
I suppose I never bothered to look at the Windows 10 Photo App because I assumed that it was just a simple app for quickly viewing photos. I opened it and I was immediately shocked. Not only did it open super fast, but it displayed my photos immediately and sorted them by date. Also the app automatically scans and refreshes the database which is indicated by the animated updating icon.
I noticed that the left is lacking a tree folder/date list that I’ve grown used to in other apps, but instead there are options: Collection, Albums, and Folders.
I believe “Collections” is what I’ve been looking for in a photo viewer. What I think it does is collects all the photos from your predetermined photo folders (mine is MY PICTURES, which is default and why it was already loaded), and sorts them based on date regardless of the folder they are in. This feature seems to work amazing. The thing I don’t like about this feature is it doesn’t show the months in a tree on the left nav, instead you can scroll down to goto the previous months, or click on the Month title and it’ll load a month view. This feature would be better if it’d show some thumbnails, but thankfully the program is so fast and lightweight that everything opens and loads fast, so you can click on a month and quickly view the photos. Tip to Microsoft: Automatically put the month list on the left pane when someone entered Collection view.
The photo viewer is very nice as well, and plays videos too very smoothly. The viewer also comes with basic editing tools and filters.
I actually don’t really understand the Albums view. The app seems to create albums automatically based on time, location, and what it detects in the picture? Maybe it creates albums that contain water, fish, and maybe people. I don’t know. For example, here’s an album it automatically created for “Days in Wellington, and Geuda Springs Ks”. WTF?
While there is no tree view on the left as with many photo organizers, there is a folder button, which shows you the folder view:
While I don’t see any face detection features, the Windows 10 Photo’s app looks like its going to be my replacement for Picasa, and to be honest, It seems to be working so great that even if Picasa hadn’t killed Picasa, I might have started using it anyway.
I’m kinda kicking myself for not using it sooner. It seems to be the perfect photos album.
The Photos app comes built into Windows 10, or if for some crazy reason your Windows install didn’t come with it, or perhaps you previously deleted it, you can download it from the Windows Store for free.