So much focus is placed on Google’s search and email tools that, despite the massive number of services the company has, it’s still easy to forget about some of the others that are available. Picasa is Google’s photo organization, editing and sharing tool, and Perfect Tool For Picasa is a companion app that’s available for Android.
Perfect Tool focuses on viewing and uploading photos, but also offers the potential for performing basic image editing from your phone or tablet.
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When you first launch Perfect Tool for Picasa, you’ll be asked to sign into an existing Google account but you also have the option of signing up for a new one. This done, you’re presented with a Flickr-style view that can be used to browse through featured pictures and perform searches for any images you may need.
The search function taps into the global online community, so you are able to take a look through the public galleries of any other users, not just your own images. If there are searches you want to perform on a frequent basis – perhaps you’re looking for tour photos of your favourite band – you can save a search so the next time you need to run it, a tap is all that is required.
When you perform a search for more photos or albums from a user, you then have the option to follow them. This enables you then to use the first tab of the app to keep track of your favourite photographers’ latest posts so you don’t have to manually hunt them down.
However, browsing through images from search results in Perfect Tool is a bit of a jumble — some aspects work well while others are less than perfect. You can view comments that have been written about a particular image, but the formatting looks, frankly, terrible and there is no reason that this could not have been better implemented.
But the real problem with interacting with images stems from the fact that the buttons that can be used to search for related images, set a picture as your wallpaper, share with others and perform other actions, are not labelled, and are small enough to be difficult to make out. Oddly, fewer buttons are displayed when in landscape mode despite the fact that there is more horizontal space, so some option are relegated to a sub-menu.
Viewing & Editing
Where Perfect Tool excels is in the viewing and management of your own collection. Head to the images tab and the first thing you’ll see is a series of thumbnails for each of your albums.
Anything you want to upload can be done on an individual basis, or you can transfer several images at once – either to an existing album or to a new one.
What many people will come to Perfect Tool for, though, are the image editing options. Although there is nothing to get overly excited about here – you’re not getting a mobile version of Photoshop – there are still many things to explore.
In the free version of the app, you are limited to editing locally stored files before they are uploaded – you are not able to make any changes to the images you have already uploaded. In either case, it’s good to see that you are able to not only edit a file directly, but also create a copy first in case you make any unwanted changes.
It’s actually a little surprising to see just how many editing tools are included. As well as standard options such as cropping and rotating, you also find red eye removal, contract and brightness adjustment, as well as a smattering of special effects that can be used to give your images everything from the obligatory sepia look to something slightly more subtle. There’s great fun to be had experimenting with the various filters and seeing how they interact with each other.
The Premium Upgrade
If all of this is not enough for you – or if you’re just finding the ads to be a distraction – there is also a premium license available for the app. At £3.64, this may seem expensive to start with, but there are a number of extra options available to justify the price tag.
Make the upgrade and you’ll unlock additional slideshow options, the ability to work with an unlimited number of offline albums, more image resizing options, extra photo editing tools, and – perhaps something that should have been made available free of charge – a setting that can be used to choose which tab is activated by default when the app is launched.
Perfect Tool for Picasa is the kind of tool that Google should have released officially for its service. While it may irk you, having to pay to access some of the arguably more useful features, you will still have a very capable tool on your hands even if you decide to stick with the free version of the app.