January 06, 2009

Google has a new year's present for Mac users. Picasa for the Mac is finally available (in beta, like all Google products). Now I can finally wave goodbye to iPhoto. (I am doing a happy dance right now.)

Picasa Mac was in the rumor mill in January of 2008, and I'd darn near given up on it. Discovered it was available today. I like this program enough to risk deletion and post it as if it were a groundbreaking news story. iPhoto might be fine for you if you use nothing else, but frustrated photographers, Mac converts and cross-platform users like myself have been sorely missing the functionality missing in iPhoto but available in Picasa. The automatic scanning for changes (additions/deletions) alone is enough to make my day. (Bonus to iPhoto users, Picasa doesn't touch your existing library: It just indexes it. You can try it risk-free and see what you've been missing.)

  • Don't kiss your iPhoto goodbye yet. google has ditched their "Don't be Evil" mantra, and gotten all snuggly with a passel of bigots over California's Prop. 8. They (in the form of Sergei Brin) gave a tiny token amount of money against it and took a whole lot of money in favor of it and hijacked a lot of websites all over the country, not just in CA, like /., Linux news, and my own dinner blog, all sites that had nothing to do contextually or geophysically with the issue, right before the election, held them hostage, and plastered them with Yes on 8 (i.e. in favor of taking away rights from gays and lesbians) ads, with *no* way of blocking the ads, short of cutting off their revenue stream (which I immediately did). This was a slickly executed campaign, but one that could only have been coordinated from the people very high up within google, not someone getting lucky by filling out a form on a website. My point is this: don't use google products- they support bigotry, repression and intolerance and profit from it and do not deserve your patronage. If you are interested in learning more about the topic, you can read more by plowing through this lengthy link here. Sorry to derail, CLF, but I am on a one-man crusade against google, they sold me out, and I am not taking it lying down.
  • Also, iPhoto just got a major bump today. Face recognition, geotagging, smarter searching and browsing. Interfaces with flickr and facebook, including tag syncing. Optional vibrating genital attachment.
  • Ouch, queso. Google have been distancing themselves from their "don't be evil" mantra for a while, but that's terrible. Can anyone suggest any other consolidated web services like email/calendar/chat (which is my most-used combo), or at least a couple of providers that can be interconnected? Preferably by non-evil people.
  • I understand your frustration there Queso. Prop 8 was the single major "Oh hell" moment I had in the last election cycle (and I'm still hoping the lawsuit against the damn hate legislation will be bale to overturn it). At the same time, I have to ask: Is it complicity in the higher-ups, or is it asshole bastards with enough money to burn on advertising that they can carpet-bomb anywhere and everywhere with hateful ads? I wouldn't expect Google to review everything that crosses their plate. I mean, come on. They handle a lot of ads. I'm not excusing the rash of hate ads, but that seems to be how it goes. I never heard of any of the networks taking sides - did ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox donate even a token amount to the No on 8 campaign? But I'm sure all of them took money for running ads. So did radio, billboards, print shops, etc. - and I doubt any of them took even a token stand for or against anything. Looks like two things happened here: 1) the sleazeball bastards behind Prop 8 sent the ad up as a general, non-targeted ad - that is, they did NOT indicate accurately to Google what the content of the ad was, and did this intentionally - which means any personal preference filters to block ads that are political or [insert any other topic here] in nature would not be triggered - so the ads go up everywhere. Assholes always find a way to be assholes. This sucks, but it isn't as if Google planned it to happen this way. and 2) They pulled this shit the day before the election, so nobody (either you or Google) had much of a chance to fix the situation. In short, they got caught with their pants down. I don't like it but it doesn't make me hate Google more than I hate Yahoo, what with their insistence on bundling their damned toolbar in with every download known to humanity. Personally I'm MUCH more pissed that so much money was funneled into this hate legislation from outside of California, especially from churches like the Roman Catholic Church and the LDS. Far as I'm concerned, you can be a church all you want but when you start using funds to push morality legislation you've crossed a line. You mess with government, you should lose your tax-exempt status. I just honestly don't expect any organization over a certain size to do things for reasons other than financial ones. The cynical side of me kind of expected Google would be like any other big company - good intentions, but sometimes it was going to let people down because you can't succeed if you're always the nice guy. Expecting otherwise is like expecting Obama to be the president people want him to be, instead of the president he HAS to be to do the job. There will be decisions that don't make people happy, and they won't all be made for good reasons, and if we aren't realistic enough to expect these things to happen we all end up angry and hurt. I'm still doing my happy dance but now I'm doing it cynically with a dose of bitter reality.
  • google's been given plenty of chance to respond to this issue and rectify the situation, but instead has chosen to remain silent. With my experience working in online advertising, I tend to seriously doubt that this happened without high level support within google. The bigots didn't just get lucky and pull a fast one; they had help from within. google's reluctance to deny their complicity only underscores that.
  • mct - looked at the iPhoto bump. Face recognition sounds pretty cool - it would be nice to index prints like that - but jesus, iPhoto is slow enough as it is. How much more overhead will that add when I open it? Picasa searches through 25 gigs of my images in less than 0.02 seconds on average. (And it doesn't cost $80.) And it doesn't take ages and ages and ages to import my pictures. Or freak out when I manually delete one, or end up with duplicates if I try to force it to notice changes in an existing folder. (which happens all the time as I sync my Pictures folder with the My Pictures folder on my home computer, where I upload my pictures in the first place.) Now I'm feeling bad about my happy dance and want Queso to have a hug. WE LOVE YOU QUESO! Don't worry, when all the bitter old people die we'll make the world better for everyone. You just have to outlast the bastards.
  • Apologies, I did not read your link before I responded. However, I do not place a lot of credence in their weak excuse of a reply. Saying two months after the fact "Not our fault, they tricked us," seems mighty disingenuous. They need to do a lot of soul-searching and bridge building before they will ever regain my trust or business.
  • I have no dog in this fight, but it seems to me unlikely that Google, who doubtlessly has many gay users, shareholders and employees, would risk angering them all by taking a stand on this issue.
  • To say that "people very high up within google" were responsible for the anti-gay marriage ads is a conspiracy theory at best. I don't think that google's corproate position is anti-gay marriage because of that any more than I think that they don't believe in evolution because I used to regularly get ads in gmail for that anti-evolution movie Ben Stein was in.
  • I am not saying google is anti-gay marriage, i am saying they are pro-money, no matter what the source. They sold thousands of sites out as customers for a big barrel of bigoted cash and didn't care whose toes they stepped on or whom they cozied up to. The ad campaign was far too well orchestrated to have been happenstance and was achieved by someone planning it with assistance by someone from within google's advertising program.