October 10th, 2007 | Published in Google Photos (Picasa)
Continuing Monday's discussion of Picasa's less-visible features, I thought I'd start by talking about Backup. This shouldn't be considered a minor detail, really -- keeping a backup archive is downright crucial.
If you tried our Backup feature in the past (look in 'Tools -> Backup') but had concluded that you no longer have enough blank CDs (or even 4.8-gigabyte DVDs) to easily store your growing photo collection, think again. Grab an external hard drive and try the 'disk to disk' backup, which eliminates the need to swap a big stack of CDs when creating your archive. (We built the 'disk to disk' feature to work over networks, too, so you can even use network-attached storage, like fancy RAID drives.)
It's faster than you'd expect. After you first create your archive, Picasa is smart enough to only backup the most recent changes the next time around. Using an external drive with our backup feature is also a great way to migrate to a new PC, since it preserves all of your albums and edits in Picasa.
Sometimes we build little features into Picasa that are essentially invisible -- they don't show up in the interface at all. The color engine in Picasa 2.7 is one of those changes; it's become far more adept at handling extra-orange or extra-blue photos. If you have some old 'problem photos' where the lighting just seemed hopeless, try going to the 'Tuning' tab and picking a neutral color with the picker. The color temperature slider in 'Tuning' also uses this new color model, and it can give you some wonderful results.
Other goodies? To see captions and filenames under thumbnails, you can enable this via the settings in 'View -> Thumbnail Caption ->.' You can also turn your thumbnails into cool-looking 4x6 contact sheets (sometimes useful for archival purposes) by using the 'Print a Contact Sheet' function in the 'Album & Folders' menu.
And if you've made it this far, I probably owe you an Easter egg! Try this: Edit a picture in Picasa and choose the 'Effects' tab. Hold down 'Ctrl' while clicking on the 'Graduated Tint' filter, and you will find the 'Radial Tint' filter -- not listed anywhere else. You can make colored vignettes and really nice colored glows with this one. Enjoy!