Google announced on February 12, 2016 that it will retire the photo hosting, management and editing service Picasa on May 1, 2016.
When Google launched the new Google Photos web application, it was clear that something had to happen to Picasa as Photos was Google's new focus and Picasa would have to go eventually.
The announcement should not come as a surprise to Picasa users. In short, Google plans to shut down Picasa Web Albums on May 1, 2016, and the Picasa desktop application on March 15, 2016.
Picasa users may use Web Albums and the desktop application until they are retired.
Picasa users can migrate to Google Photos by simply logging in to the service, and they will notice that their photos and videos are already hosted by Google's new service.
While the media is there, functionality is not yet identical between the two services. Google Photos lacks descriptions, tags and comment or an online gallery with GPS information, and it is unclear if Google will add those features to Photos in the future.
Google plans to provide access to a read-only version of Picasa Web Albums for users who want access to these features. This allows Picasa users to view, download or delete content.
That way, you will still be able to view, download, or delete your Picasa Web Albums, you just won’t be able to create, organize or edit albums (you would now do this in Google Photos).
As far as the desktop app is concerned, Google wants users to migrate to the Google Photos application instead for all desktop uploading tasks.
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.
Picasa users who want to migrate to another (non-Google) service for their photo hosting and editing needs -- Flickr comes to mind -- may find the following help page on the official Google help site useful for that as it details how to download photos or albums from Picasa Web Albums.
That's only required if photos are not stored on a local PC but only in the cloud.
To download an album to your desktop, you need the Picasa desktop application installed on your computer. Open the album afterwards on Picasa Web Albums, and select Actions > Download to Picasa.
If you don't want to use Google Photos, you may delete any of the photos that are available on the service after you have made sure that you have local backups of them.
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