Still a Picasa holdout? How to make Google Photos work for you

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Millions have downloaded and continue to use Picasa, Google’s free and feature-rich photo management software that works on both Macs and PCs. But the app has seen almost no love from Google in recent years — in fact, the last major update happened more than five years ago, in 2011, and that update was the last one Picasa users will ever see. Google recently announced that it has abandoned the platform entirely in favor of its cloud-based product known as “Google Photos,” which launched last year as a standalone product featuring much of same functionality that was baked into Picasa and the company’s social network, Google+.

More Google Photos: Google Photos “undo edits” update eliminates copies to reduce clutter

So what does this mean for folks who still use Picasa?

How to stick with Picasa, for now

Google stopped supporting Picasa on March 15, 2016. That means no more versions will be released, no bug fixes will be issued, and no support will be offered. However, if you already have the software installed, it will continue to work. No, your photos won’t suddenly disappear and neither will the software itself. If you want to keep using Picasa, you can absolutely do so. If you go this route, my advice is to re-download the latest version of Picasa (3.9) for Mac or Windows right now and keep the installer somewhere safe — you never know when you may need to reinstall it and who knows how easy it will be to find later.

Here’s what has changed. If you’ve been taking advantage of Picasa’s free web Albums feature, as of May 1, 2016 the only way to access them is through Google Photos. If you’re curious what that will look like, simply log in to Google Photos with the Google account you used to create the web Album — and voila — they’re already there. You can view, download, or delete your Picasa Web Albums from the Photos interface, but as of May 1, you cannot create, organize, or edit them.

You may also find that Picasa functions which require web connectivity, like the Order Prints or Publish to Blogger features, may fail to work at some point. Google has been silent on exactly when or how this could happen, though.

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