Things are nice and simple in Picasa local. Here I have uploaded some photos to a web album and Picasa locally lists my albums and shows me what's in them. So far so good.
If I want to edit it then that's easy too, with a good selection of tools available. And if I clicked a sync control (not shown) then edits here would be reflected in the album on-line. However, if I changed the image in its original location (where the original was placed when I transferred it from a camera, not the album) then, even if sync'd it wouldn't be updated. In any case, you wouldn't want to sync an original folder as that's likely to contain a load of other photos that you don't want to share anywhere.
So, let's look at the Picasa album on-line now.
Same three photos, and set out similarly. Let's say I'd like to edit it here.
There are choices. I'm in 'Picasa' though, so I decide to stick with 'Edit in Picasa'
I'm not quite sure what happens behind the scenes but the impression you get is that the image is downloaded and presented back in the familiar editing view as before. It may be that a local copy is presented rather than an actual download but the effect is the same.
So I may make some edits. (I haven't in these examples but that doesn't matter for this story.) So now what do I do? What I'm looking for is some OK button (there was a pop up panel that asked if I wanted to edit the photo earlier to which I'd said Yes but that was before. This is after and I'd expect to confirm the changes and have them either immediately given effect in the on-line album after pressing something. But what?
There's a green Share on Google+ button but this is a Picasa web album. I think they might be the same and could press the green button but I'm really not sure. So I try the 'Back to folder' button instead to see where this image actually is first.
Ah. It's in a folder called 'Picasa Edits'. Now, does that mean it's already been updated on-line? Is that an on-line folder? Doesn't look like it. I'm still in a local area. OK. So I'll select the one I want and my only choice seems to be that green Share on Google+ button.
I'm now in Google+ - seems the best place to look, doesn't it - and have selected my album which does a little fan thing. Opening it shows me what's in this album. Hopefully the same as the Picasa web view.
Well, it's similar but it's all the photos. Let's look at just that one.
Whoa! That's different. Nice black background and I can see the others too and the temporary grey out on that one. OK. So what happens if I want to edit it here instead?
Oh my goodness. I'm now in something called Piknic or Picnik (I never can remember). Looks nice but this is completely different with quite different effects and options. Editing in Piknic is fairly straightforward and all on-line so nothing local to worry about and there is a satisfying 'Are you sure?' type panel that you can reassuringly confirm or cancel regarding whatever changes you've made.
That's all well and good but editing in Piknic only changes the on-line copy. Unless I have sync'd the Picasa web album to my local album then I can't see it changing locally. And presumably the copy I have in Picasa Edits remains unchanged too. Now you may be wondering why I should use two different editors. The thing is that from Google+ you don't get Picasa editing. You can choose Piknic editing from Picasa web though. and you can choose to edit in Piknic, sorry Picnik, in Picasa local. Maybe Google is going to replace all its editing tools with Picnik ones soon. Maybe not. I would really miss the I'm feeeling lucky button and the increase Shadow control. Not to mention the touch up tools.
There's also another problem. I use the Picasa slideshows a lot. They are easy and, although a bit dated in appearance as they have been around unchanged for many years now, they work and do what I want to put a selection of photos on web sites and blogs. And I want the edited, or updated, photos to be in the slideshows. Automatically. There is a slideshow tool in Picasa web where you can get an Embed code. But if you land up in the Google+ album there's a lovely on-line slideshow but no way to embed that in a site unless you know about very advanced things like APIs. Which I don't. This is confusing enough already.
So I am finding myself constantly flicking between Google+, where I get taken to most times, and Picasa web, where I land up occasionally to get jobs done.
I haven't even mentioned the problem if you use Google+ Pages. let's say you have an album in Picasa web and you want to add some of them to an album on a Google+ Page. No. Can't do that. In fact, as crazy as it sounds, you seem to have to upload the whole lot again to a new album starting from the Google+ Page. That's because uploading from your local album only permits you to share on your own, main, Google+ area, not any particular Page. And Pages don't talk to each other either.
I have just noticed that I can now associate a blog with a Page if I wish. That's a great step forward when uploading images - if you remember to sign in as the right Page on-line first.
It is, though, all very confusing. Or am I just being a bit stupid?