Google Releases Picasa Updates

Search engine giant Google today is making a major upgrade to its Picasa photo organizing tool today, adding high end features such as photo editing capability, advanced image editing effects, customized printing, and the ability to burn CD ROMs. The free tool now offers features usually only found in imaging editing tools, including photographic filter effects, photo cropping, red-eye removal, and the ability to create CD slideshows. The tool also connects to Google's other features such as emailing using Google's Gmail service, uploading photos to Blogger blogs, and photo discussion using Picasa's Hello peer-to-peer software. Google purchased Pasadena-based idealab startup Picasa last year to give it a presence on the desktop, in a deal which was reportedly worth $4.7M in pre-IPO Google stock. Founder Lars Perkins continues as General Manager of the Picasa product.