Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery review
It fits well with the Windows 7 design, and it's free - but so is Google Picasa, and we know which we'd choose
Review Date: 22 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: PC Pro
Price when reviewed: Free
Windows Vista’s Mail, Calendar, Photo Gallery and Movie Maker are missing from Windows 7, but there’s no need to panic. They’re all available – new and improved – as a separate download.
Windows Live EssentialsMicrosoft Windows Live Mail
Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker
Microsoft Windows Live Writer
Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery
Windows 7: The Full ReviewRead our comprehensive overall review of the whole Windows 7 family
The one application in Windows Live Essentials collection we’re not completely convinced by is Photo Gallery. The reason? Google’s free Picasa application is better – better at searching, browsing, organising quick edits and sharing.
The one major advantage of the Photo Gallery is that it makes simple photo-editing and tagging facilities available in a view that fits far more naturally into the Windows 7 way of doing things.
There’s also that tight integration with other Windows applications and services, allowing you to add photographs from published albums to Writer blog posts, for instance. Like Picasa, it also offers face recognition.
But with Google Picasa offering advanced features such as geotagging, a more streamlined interface and far more mature options for editing, printing and sharing photos, we won’t be moving away to Photo Gallery just yet.
Author: PC Pro
Just thought I'd mention that, thus far, Live Photo Gallery is the only way I've found of importing digital video into Windows 7 (short of dedicated video editing software). If, like me, you have a firewire camcorder, it seems like you need to install this to import footage.
By Bassey1976 on 22 Oct 2009
I downloaded Picasa 3 enthusiastically after reading this article, and I really liked it for about 30 minutes until I discovered that Picasa wasn't picking up any of the tags that I'd attached to all of my photos through Windows...investigating more thoroughly, it seems that Picasa doesn't support XMP tags, which is the format that windows uses. So I'll be awaiting some standard tagging format support before I move over to Picasa 3. Shame, because I loved the face recognition and the overall GUI style.
By pbrn999 on 29 Oct 2009
Is Picasa really better at tagging, organising, etc?
You say Picasa is "better at searching, browsing, organising, quick edits and sharing." I don't know about "edits" because I haven't used either program to edit photos, but I think it is highly questionable whether Picasa is truly better than WLPG at any of "searching, browsing, organising or sharing".
Obviously some users will place more weight than others on features like face recognition and geotagging, but when it comes to organisation of large collections of photos I think WLPG's strengths put it well ahead.
pbrn999 has commented that Picasa doesn't recognise XMP tags. Nor does it seem to recognise star ratings applied in other programs (such as WLPG, Windows Explorer or Photoshop Elements). Nor does it save tags in the photo files for use in other programs and by other users. So not many marks for "sharing" ... either for importing or for exporting tag and rating information.
Picasa still seems to have no concept of organising tags in hierarchies (something users have been crying out for since version 1). To take one example of why this is needed: suppose you have some photos tagged with "Buckingham Palace", some with "Trafalgar Square", others with "St Paul's", etc., you have no easy way of selecting all "London" photos unless you can group all the tags for Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul's and so on into a London category and then filter or search by category name as well as or instead of by tag name.
Apart from the few built-in filters the searching facility in Picasa seems to be very one-dimensional. And the filters don't seem much use ... for example you can only filter for "starred", you can't filter for "two or more stars". You can't set a date range (indeed Picasa seems to present totally confusing information about dates). Look, by comparison, at how many options you have in WLPG for filtering, grouping and sorting in multi-dimensions. So, WLPG earns far more marks in my book for "searching", "browsing" and "organising".
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, WLPG is much more intuitive (to this user, at least), partly because it fits in so much better with the Windows way of doing things.
By hugheagle on 10 Nov 2009
- Google reveals why it thinks we'll buy smartwatches
- Windows 8.2/Windows 9: release date, features and free cloud version
- Apple's top reasons for rejecting apps
- Raspberry Pi unveils HTML5-optimised browser
- Apple and FBI "actively investigating" celeb photo hack
- Swatch Touch smartwatch in development
- Did iCloud flaw lead to celeb photo hack?
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Apple signs up credit-card companies for NFC payments
- Apple bans developers from selling your health data
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office