On the official Google Picasa Blog, Google announced yesterday,
“As of March 15, 2016, we will no longer be supporting the Picasa desktop application. For those who have already downloaded this—or choose to do so before this date—it will continue to work as it does today, but we will not be developing it further, and there will be no future updates.”Far more important is Picasa's May 1, 2016 date. On March 15 the program is merely officially on its death bed, but on May 1, its life blood, photo-sharing, goes “cryogenic.” On that date, all Picasa web albums will be frozen. Users will still be able to view their Picasa web albums and the images in them, but since they will be archived at that time, users won't be able to create, organize or edit the albums or the photos in them.
Until May 1, Picasa web albums will remain fully functional. On May 1, Picasa as a viable online image sharing website will be officially dead.Google isn't ending Picasa without creating a “suitable” alternative. Google Photos is already active and already ready to go.
From their announcement, it's clear Google is concerned that ending Picasa will send users scurrying to other online/desktop photo editors such as Pixlr and photo sharing websites such as Flickr.
In their communiqué, Google focused attention on the superior quality of Google Photos and how, by focusing their attention solely on Google Photos, they can create a “better experience” for their users. They acknowledged the “great deal of care” and hours users have spent managing their photos and videos on Picasa. They spoke of users “most precious moments” entrusted for safe-keeping to Google. To assist users in getting started with Google Photos, the company has already copied all their Picasa users' photos and videos to Google Photos.
As of March 15, while Google will halt support and downloads of Picasa, the desktop application will still work, but there will be no additions to it, no updates, no operating system problem fixes, and no security updates.
We don't have many details about the eventual move of the web albums. Many Picasa users have custom tagged their photos, and added captions. Friends and family of users may have left comments with the images. While these will likely be preserved in the eventual archived Picasa web albums, it appears as though they will not come across to Google Photos.
As of today, there is a month before Picasa is no longer supported or available to new users, but it will continue to function for some time to come on users' computers for images in their computer, and until May 1 for images in web albums. If a user wants to continue to use Picasa past May 1, I recommend downloading and saving the current version of Picasa, as it is the final version. After March 15 Picasa downloads won't be available. This is especially true if a user is considering a new computer soon, but after March 15.
I also recommend to all current Picasa users, that to ensure they have maximum flexibility for their future image editing and sharing of current photos, that they make sure they have a copy of every image currently displayed in a Picasa web album downloaded on their computers.
Finally, if I was a Picasa user, I'd check for alternatives to Google Photos, as it may not be what each user thinks is a good Picasa successor. You may not like its interface, capability or feature set. There are many alternative free and low cost photo sharing sites available today. Additionally, there are many free and inexpensive image editors available today.
Eventually Picasa users will have to move on. I recommend looking at the death of Picasa as an opportunity to see what online, desktop and mobile software best fits your needs, now that the old reliable Picasa won't be around much longer.
The search for a Picasa successor may end up providing Picasa users just what they needed to push them to find a more desirable photo editing, management and sharing program and website. It could prove to be a blessing in disguise.