Using Picasa

Picasa is Google's online and desktop photo software, and it is the default photo service for unmodified Android phones. It is one of your choices when using the Share button, and it provides an easy way to upload a photo for embedding into a web page.

Technically, Picasa and Picasa Web Albums are two separate products, but the distinction is fuzzy, since you can sync online and desktop photos. Picasa Web Albums is located on the Web at http://picasaweb.google.com.

Think of Picasa Web Albums as Google's answer to Flickr. You can upload photos and organize them into albums. Each album can have privacy settings, captions, tags, and location information (geotags). When using the service in a standard web browser, it also has facial recognition capabilities. So far this hasn't been translated into the phone version, but it's only a matter of time. The Xperia X10 has facial recognition software built into it, so it's not a stretch to imagine other phones will follow suit.

Picasa doesn't provide unlimited storage. At the time of publication, it provides 1GB of free storage, and anything beyond that must be purchased from Google on an annual basis.

There are three basic privacy levels for Picasa:

1. Public: This is just as it sounds. Your album is visible to anyone and can be found in search.

2. Unlisted: Google will give you an obscure URL, which you can distribute as you see fit. This is not actually private; it's just hard to guess. However, anyone with the URL can see your album and pass that URL on to other people, so it is a poor security setting for anything you really need to remain private.

3. Sign-in Required: You specify who can see the album. You enter the name of specific users' Google accounts, and only those people can see your album, and only when they are logged in. You can add and remove anyone from your "shared with" list.

To upload a photo to Picasa, click the Share button when viewing a picture in the Gallery app or reviewing a picture in the Camera app. Select Picasa, choose a Google account, enter a caption, and select an album. You can also create an album by pressing the + button next to the drop-down menu, but your only sharing options are Public or Unlisted when you create the album from your phone. Once you've selected the settings, click the Upload button.

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