Kodak vs. Google: Who Has the Best Free Photo Software?

Every digital camera comes with software for organizing and sharing your digital images. While this software is certainly functional, you have excellent options available to you elsewhere. Two of the best digital photo software packages are available to you for free. Kodak’s EasyShare software and Google’s Picasa handle just about every task your average user could need: they organize the images and videos on your computer, give you simple tools to edit them and give you a number of ways to share them with friends and family. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Google Picasa: Strengths

More Print Options: Unlike Kodak, Picasa isn’t tied directly to an online printer service so you have a lot more options for making prints online with Picasa. From Picasa you can upload an order photos from a dozen photo sites including Wal-Mart, CVS, Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Walgreens and more. Kodak’s EasyShare software will only let you make prints using their Gallery service, although those prints can be picked up at CVS and other partner retail locations.

Better Editing: Picasa’s editing features (such as cropping and photo retouching) are better integrated in the software: you won’t need to open a new window to edit a photo, as you do in EasyShare. Both EasyShare and Picasa offer roughly the same edits, although they differ in the kinds of photo effects they can apply. Kodak, for instance, offers a fish-eye effect while Picasa doesn’t. Kodak’s software does a better job of showing you what the “before and after” will look like with their split screen view, but Google’s editing tools are more streamlined and easier to use.

Slideshow Creator: Picasa has a very nice slideshow creator, which lets you quickly assemble images and stitch them together in a slideshow. You can import your own music files  to provide background music for your show and upload the finished product to YouTube when you’re done.

Geo-tagging: Using Picasa you can add geographical coordinates to your images (or ‘geo-tag’ them). You’ll need to download Google Earth first. Geo-tagging images is a fun way to organize them – you can click on Google Earth and see where in the world you were when you took your photos. If your camera, or Eye Fi memory card, supports geo-tagging, Picasa will save that geographical data and let you view a map of where you were when you took that photo on-screen.

Kodak EasyShare: Strengths

Gallery Integration: One of the knocks against EasyShare vs. Picasa is that Kodak only gives you a single choice for making prints (Kodak’s own Gallery service). But if you’re a Gallery user, this is actually a big plus since it makes creating photo gifts and placing orders much easier. Since Kodak’s EasyShare software is very tightly linked to its Gallery service, uploading images and working on creative projects such as photobooks is a lot easier and more efficient in EasyShare than it is in Picasa.

Better Back-up: While Picasa can burn your photos and videos to a CD or DVD, Kodak’s will not only burn discs but allows you to back-up images to external hard drives. Kodak’s Gallery service can also serve as a back-up, since Kodak will store your full resolution images on its servers for you to download at any time, provided you buy merchandize from them on an annual basis. So, EasyShare gives you not one but three ways to protect your photos.

Better Video Editing: Both EasyShare and Picasa can play back videos but Kodak’s software offers more options for editing your video. While Picasa lets you trim the front or the back to shorten your clip, Kodak does that, plus lets you add audio and splice additional clips together.

Bottom Line: If you’re a regular user of Kodak Gallery’s online service for your prints and merchandise, than EasyShare should be your first choice. For those who don’t use Gallery, or don’t use it exclusively, Picasa is a better bet, since it is tied into more photo services and offers a better range of creative and organizational tools than EasyShare. 

Author:Greg Scoblete

Greg Scoblete is the editor of Your Digital Life. He has been covering the photographic world for the past ten years for a variety of publications including PDN, This Week in Consumer Electronics and Digital Photographer.