So the holidays are long gone and you’re still futzing around with your photos from the family vacation and holiday gatherings. Am I right?* Do you upload your photos onto a service like, Shutterfly or oPhoto to get them printed?* Do you have to edit out the red eye, crop and enhance in iPhoto or Photoshop before you do that?* And what about sending the photos to your friends and family? Do your loved ones find them difficult to open or are they annoyed that they too, have to sign up forShutterfly or oPhoto in order to see your photos?Google has a free software that you can download online, called Picasa. Picasa does 4 main things:

  • It imports your photos.
  • It organizes them (so you can find them).
  • It allows you to edit/retouch.
  • It allows you to publish, e mail and print.

Picasa competes directly with Photoshop elements with regards to editing, but this tool is far more user-friendly. Don’t know what Photoshop is? Forget I ever mentioned it. Stick with Picasa. For now, at least.When you start the software, Picasa will find all the photos that you have on your computer — even the ones you forgot you had! You can edit, create captions and even web albums that your friends can view effortlessly.How effortlessly? Well, once you create the web album, you send an email out from that page to share your photos with loved ones. The difference betweenShutterfly and Picasa is that there is no sign up (or confusion about sign up) with Picasa. The link that your loved ones receive IS the album. You don’t have to attach photos to emails anymore!Picasa will take the guesswork out of sizing your photos for printing and their navigation makes viewing a pleasure. They even have a built in function that takes you to your favorite online printing website to upload your photos. So if you want to order from Shutterfly, you can. Or, if you want to print them at home, they have user-friendly tools for that as well.If one software can integrate all the functions you need, why hop around? And did I mention, it’s free? There are only certain elements of Picasa that are available for the Mac, like Web Albums. Still,iPhoto has this function built-in to make your life easier: when you go to “export” there is a menu item for Picasa.