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May 9, 2008

Picasa's Hello Discontinued

Hello, Picasa's obscure instant messenger, has been discontinued and will be completely shut down on May 15th. Hello's last major update was released in January 2005, six months after Picasa was acquired by Google.

According to its site, "Hello is a program that lets you connect directly with your friends to share your digital pictures. (...) With Hello, you just pick what pictures you want to show off, and click Send. That's it. Hello takes care of all the hard work. And you and your friends can download full resolution, print-quality pictures from each other, while you're doing more important things, like talking about your pictures. (...) With Hello's file sharing technology, [your friends] only have to download high quality versions of the [pictures] they really like. Everything else comes in at a smaller size, optimized for viewing on-screen."

"Hello enables users to instantly share images securely over a peer-to-peer network and chat about them. Hello currently has more than 250,000 users and can be used with or without Picasa, the company's flagship digital photo organizing software," mentioned Picasa in a press release from May 2004. It would be interesting to know the number of active users as of today, but it's probably much lower than 250,000.

The instant messenger was integrated with Picasa, so you could select the photos from Picasa and send them to Hello, but also view in Picasa the pictures you receive. Like Picasa, Hello was easy to use and shared the same clean interface. Despite its usefulness, Hello should have been a feature in a more powerful IM client, not a stand-alone application.

If you haven't tried Hello, you can still download the application from You and all your contacts need to have Picasa accounts. According to, you can still use the application one more week.

Here's Hello's goodbye:

"We originally embarked on a mission to make photo sharing easier and more fun with Hello. We plan to keep carrying that torch in new projects to come. We hope that you continue to enjoy the other sharing products Google offers including Picasa, Picasa Web Albums and Google Talk."

and here are some reactions:

"I live on Hello because it allows me as a designer to show my clients the screen I am working on real time. It also allows me to communicate with other designers who work for my business and mentor them through the design process, or get myself some mentoring!"

"i credit hello for leading to some very good friendships of mine all over the US, and i credit hello for my transition from crafter to artist. i do not want to lose this program."

"PLEASE reconsider the decision to shut down Hello. It is an invaluable tool for the digital scrapbook community, especially the designers. I can't imagine what I would do without the ease Hello provides to show off screen shots and get critique on my Designs."

"I use Hello daily in conversation and to share photos with family members out of state. It has also been very useful in learning and teaching applications by using real time screen shots. There just isn't anything else that compares that is so easy to use!"

"My mother who has no idea what IM even stands for, uses Hello everyday. We send her pictures of her grandkids, she shows us pictures she's taken, its awesome! She only uses it because it is simple and user friendly. IM programs like Google Talk, Yahoo, MSN or Goober are way too complex for her to figure out and I doubt she is the only one in this situation."

{ via Google Blogoscoped }

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