A key selling point for Apple computers in education has been the iLife suite of applications. This includes iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand, all of which work very well to allow kids to deal with photos, video, podcasts, etc. While the latter two still stand as stellar examples of easy-to-use multimedia creation tools, I finally broke out Picasa this morning to manage some photos for our district website; I won't be going back to iPhoto.
Picasa, Google's photo management software, has always sat on the back burner for me. I have iPhoto, after all, on my Mac. However, an after-school program in one of our Mac-heavy schools began using Picasa to support geo-tagging and work with Google Earth. While iPhoto can upload content to sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa Web Albums with plugins, Picasa, not surprisingly, has very tight integration with Google's web album application.
While I was just planning to create a web album and share it via the district website, I found that Picasa (like iPhoto) can create a slide show movie. Movie creation was fast and intuitive and, of course, allowed immediate upload to YouTube. It also exported a .mov file that I was able to upload to Fliggo directly (more on Fliggo later today).
None of these things alone would necessarily make me stop using iPhoto, but Picasa's speed, integration, and intuitive interface that rivals iPhoto's are all worth consideration. However, the real deciding factor is its cross-platform compatibility. Picasa works on Windows, Mac, and Linux and all can connect to cloud-based web albums. Add in the advent of tools like MovieMasher and Audacity, and suddenly iLife becomes a much less compelling argument to buy a Mac.