Google: Chrome & Picasa 3.0

Busy day at Google as they took a shot at Microsoft and Mozilla with their Chrome browser and also released a major update to Picasa.

Please visit the Official Google Blog for more detailed information on both announcements. At a glance:

  • Chrome: It shouldn’t come as a shock to see simplicity and user-friendliness reign supreme in Chrome. However, don’t be sand-bagged into thinking Chrome is a “bare bones” browser as there have been a number of subtle and intuitive features that users will benefit from. One of the largest improvements (over traditional browsers) is Chrome’s multi-process environment (similar to an Operating System) whereas each browser tab is a stand-alone process running independently of the other(s). For example, you can close a tab when a page or a process on your computer acts up opposed to closing/re-opening the entire browser and losing an email or a cool site that took you forever to find. The multi-process approach also optimizes memory usage and eliminates memory bloat whereas closed tabs in single-threaded browsers still hang onto memory fragments long past the time you closed the tab (try using multiple tabs in the same IE session for a day). But, above all, Chrome has out-performed existing browsers in the time it takes to load web pages which, when boiled down, is the most direct user benefit of using any browser (assuming functionality requirements are met).
  • Picasa: Picasa’s always had a reputation for being a decent entry-level photo organizer but Google’s upped the ante with 3.0 with a number of improvements, especially around collaboration. Previous versions of Picasa allowed users to upload/share photos on Picasa Web Albums but 3.0 allows users to bi-directionally synchronize photos and create slide-shows and movies that can be seamlessly ported to YouTube. However, one of the coolest new features is Picasa Web Album’s “name tag” option that scans your albums and allows you to tag people using face recognition. If you’re still not sold…it’s free!