Saturday, May 30th, 2009

When my mom got a fancy digital camera, I set her up with Google Picass. I’m a big an of iPhoto on my Mac and had heard good things about Picasa. And given that Picass looks like a clone of iPhoto, I figured it would work about the same way.

It doesn’t. iPhoto stores pictures in an opaque database in a bundle (a bundle is a folder on OS X which appears in the Finder as a regular file. They’re pretty cool.). The image files are stored ok disk, but it’s purely an implementation detail. The user doesn’t have to think about files at all: the pictures are entities in an of themselves. And if you want an actual file sonewhere, you can just drag a picture from iPhoto into a Finder window. It’s great and easy and -dare I say it- natural.

Piacasa does not use an opaque database. Your pictures never become entites distinct from the files on disk. Picasa is really just a file browser. It looks for image files all over your disk and just displays them. If you move a picture in Picasa it moves it in your regular folders as well.

Which would be fine except that Picasa does not LOOK like a file manager. Windows Explorer and folder windows and open/save dialog boxes ok Windows all look the same. So when I move a file, I understand what will happen. They all look like file management tools. Picass looks like a photo manager, so it shouldn’t also be a file manager.
It’s inconsistent and it’s unintuitive and it breaks the principle of least surprise.

It’s a huge UX failure. Thank Jobs for Apple.

Comments are currently closed for this post.