Is Picasa Safe?by Kay Ireland
Picasa -- Google-created software that allows you to upload photos onto online albums -- can help you organize your pictures to share them with friends and family. When you upload photos, you can also share them with the Picasa online community. So long as you take certain precautions, Picasa can be completely safe, but using the service carelessly could cause you to broadcast more information about yourself than you intended.
When you use the Picasa desktop photo uploading software, your pictures are automatically transferred to your online photo albums. At the time of publication, each Picasa account can store 1GB of photos and videos for free online and you can purchase more space as needed. The Picasa software also has basic photo editing capabilities, which can help you clean up photos, crop, resize,and even change the tone and color of your pictures.
When you use the Picasa software to save your pictures to the Picasa website, you could be sharing your photos with more people than you intended. Without the proper protections, your private pictures can be made public so that anyone online can see. When you upload a picture to an online photo sharing site, it's nearly impossible to remove, because others can save the pictures to their own hard drives.
Downloading the Picasa software helps to streamline the uploading process, though you can use an online uploading interface to upload your photos. So long as you download the Picasa software from a reputable source, it's safe. Unfortunately, downloading from disreputable download websites could infect your computer with a virus. Always download the latest version of Picasa from Google directly and avoid third-party download websites.
Changing your Picasa account settings can help protect you from unknowingly sharing your private photos with the entire Picasa community. By setting your account to password protection, you can provide family and friends with a password they use to access your albums. If you prefer to leave your Picasa albums public or want to add your pictures to the Picasa online community, upload pictures that don't contain private information, such as telephone numbers or street names, and use a digital watermark to prevent your photos from being downloaded and used elsewhere.
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