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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 http://updates.picasa.com/hello/651/Hello651.exe. You and all your contacts need to have Picasa accounts. According to hello.com, 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 }

76 comments:

  1. I've never used it, but i think it looks very nice, it should be integrated with Google Talk (as separate version), and provide flexible system of extensions (it would be nice to see photos from flickr, messages from twiter etc.).

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  2. I used Hello and it seems really cool and nice. I was able to share photographs very easily.

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  3. Having used Hello once (and just once), I must say that it was a cool little application, but it was just too specific. It is just too much of a hassle to have to change clients based upon wether you want to share photographs or you want to share stories.
    That being said, I still believe that the photo-sharing capabilities offered by Hello was second to none. If Hello was too specific, others are too general. It's photo-sharing capabiltities were second to none.
    I hope that we see Hello in some form or another in the future, through an extension to other IMs (not just Google Talk, as none of my friends use it).

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  4. Fully agree with the comments above. Gtalk is ok to share two or three pictures but not my trip to Thailand. And PicasaWeb is also not good for sharing it with my mom when she asks me how it was and I don't have the intention to upload it all.

    So, I'm sad for this announcement. I wouldn't mind this if Hello's features of instantly share peer-to-peer pictures were implemented somehow in Google Talk or somewhere else, actually that would be wow!

    Currently I use both, I chat on Gtalk but I switch to Hello when I want to share instantly a large number of pics. It's great because while you show and talk about a picture, the rest of them are being transferred in the background, optimized, so there is no wait time and on top of that they would have it in their hard disk at the end. This is different than Picassa Web because it's instant: I don't have to wait to upload the files for them to starting browsing the pictures... and also it makes no sense to create that traffic to Google if I only want to share it with one person.
    In Hello, the thumbnails are transferred immediately; so they can browse to the 110th picture which looks interesting and take a look to that one first which will be loaded when they click on there.

    The other feature which is really useful is the "Follow me". You can comment together on the picture you both are looking at at that very moment. Something similar is implemented already in Google Docs (presentations) and LiveMeeting, etc. but not for pictures.

    I think that would be a killing app if is just based on Google accounts (so I don't have to ask people to create a new account), less specific (no other program to install) and with very small usability enhancements ("Share pictures" button in Gtalk which would work Hello-style, witht he Follow-me thing and thumbnail horizontal scrool? How nice!!!)

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  5. Well if it is being shut down because of poor usage, they might just need to redesign the marketing for it. I used Hello a couple years ago when it was introduced and it seemed like one of those, "what is this good for" items and I never tried it again. Plus, I have friends familiar with Picasa who don't even know what Hello is. Apparently there's a tiny educational issue with getting people to use it.

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  6. Hello will be completely shut down on May 15th? Maybe a new Google Talk will be released on that day, too! :)

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  7. Aw now that sucks!

    They better be planning to add its picture-sharing into GTalk at some point!
    Hello was an awesome application!

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  8. Hello is the only Google app/service I haven't used. I can see the niche loved it, but it was just too specialized. I'm grateful for the Google employees who will finally support more useful products!

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  9. There are more people that use hello than everyone realizes. And there isn't a user friendly and image sharing comparable program out there. My grandmother tried many IMs and this is the only one that allowed to her to easily get pictures from us without a bunch of hoops. It's unfortunate that they decide to kill it instead of promote it. There are lots of people out there that don't want big general programs but simply want to talk and share pictures. And this was it.

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  10. "Hello" is an amazing fun program to share photos with family and friends.

    I hope Google integrates its features into GTalk and/or Picassa using the Google account password.

    I'm sorry to see it go.

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  11. Hello was probably the best pictures sharing program out there. The problem is I completely forgot about it. Google should defiantly import its features into gtalk and/or Picasa

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  12. Hello was unique! Nothing else like it. It was an extremely useful tool for me as a photographer...to discuss aspects of a photo with someone anywhere in the world, in real time...what an excellent idea. Seems like a step backwards in shutting this great program down. Am not impressed....is something similar being designed, soon?

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  13. Kristine CarpenterMay 16, 2008 at 12:43 PM

    This is very sad! I love Hello and used it all the time. I also recommended it to everyone I know. Please reconsider!

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  14. I agree with many of the comments above in that Hello was very useful and extremely unique. Since the announcement was made that its being discontinued, I have been frantically searching for a possible replacement and can't find anything of its kind. I wish Google would reconsider their decision to shut down this product. If anything, Google has neglected to market the product. Most people I've introduced to Hello didn't even know it existed, even though they are very familiar with most other Google products. Please reconsider keeping this product in the Google arsenal.

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  15. I'm really, REALLY angry and sad to see Hello being killed off like this... I used it all the time (at least twice a week) to chat and share pictures with friends. It's the sort of program I'd happily pay for (if money was the problem as to why it's being discontinued) and I never understood why more people didn't seem to know about it. So far I have been unable to find anything CLOSE to Hello to replace it (sharing full res pictures off local HDD while chatting in real-time), which just makes this so much worse. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. I frankly think this could have been a huge success, sad it's been given up on. I agree with Greg, too... the only reason I don't think this program was huge is that not many people seemed to know about it.

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  16. Please, Please, PLEASE reconsider the discontinuation of HELLO... I would be willing to pay for this program!!! I'm going to be lost without it!!! Pleeeease don't do this to us!!!
    Laurie

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  17. I use hello every day to share pics and chat with friends. When the pics appear on my screen they are saved automatically by picasa. Hello is such a wonderful, easy to use and convenient program. Please reconsider its' closure, it is too good to die young!

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  18. I liked Hello, why is it going away! That stinks. It was a clean, decent and useful program.

    I guess that's why it's going away. People are too blind to recognize a good thing when they see it.

    I wish they reconsider ending the service.

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  19. Marcelo SvartmanMay 25, 2008 at 3:39 PM

    Pleeeeeeeease, reconsider it!

    Hello is a brilliant tool and the only reason people don't use it for picture sharing is because they don't know it exists. Every single person I've introduced to Hello till now have started using it.

    Major tool! Don't give up!

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  20. Hello hasn't been updated or changed since it was introduced. What a testament to the program that I used on a weekly basis since I was introduced to it almost 3 years ago. It didn't need an update. It used the KISS method. Keep It Super Simple. They did, it worked, it did what it was suppossed to do and those who used it regularly knew that. Bravo to Google for showing once again total disregard for the users of a program that functioned well on a daily basis without having to download an update every other day because of all the bugs or features that needed repair or improvement. It's obvious to me that there is something else going on here that we're not being told. It's sad to see Google resort to the typical philosophy of "if it works, get rid of it". So long Hello, sorry to see that you have felt the indifference of the dark side of the farce.

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  21. A replacement to Hello, called Hello (again) has been announced here: http://www.HelloAgainApp.com

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  22. @rober l Great to see Hello back again (almost). May Google buy it back for a zillion bucks.

    I hope there will be a clear privacy policy prominently posted so that people will feel secure about sharing all their photos.

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  23. The only people who fail to feel a huge dissappointment in the saying goodbye of Hello are those who havent used it or just don't take that many pictures. I would like someone to please show me a program that can send over 1000's (yes thousands 1gb - 2gb SD cards, I take a ton of pix) of pictures faster, easier and thats free. This is a huge disappointment for those who used hello because we all told our friends "get this program called hello and il send you the pix" as reluctant as my friends were to try out a new program, once they tried it they imediately fell in love with it.

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  24. interesting news on hello again...hope this is legit.

    I know it would make me very happy!! Hopefully they're open to suggestions...hello was great just not perfect.

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  25. How is that possible?
    I've been using hello for 3 years, I can't imagine life without it! It's quite difficult to send more than 10 pics via mail! Maybe they'll consider that decision one more time... I hope so :(

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  26. I will miss hello so much blogging just wont be the same I have used it daily for my http://juicydogcouture.blogspot.com
    for years!!!!
    Sad :-(

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  27. Indeed, this really is a very unpleasant surprise. I've been using Hello since it was released. It really was a unique piece of software, having three key features: 1) the ability to send a large quantity of full-resolution photographs to family and friends regardless of firewalls 2) allowing one to see the picture the receiver was looking at in real time while the actual files were sent, AND allowing both parties to chat/talk about it (using google talk), providing an unique and fun experience (e.g. discussing the latest pictures of my son with my parents) 3) extreme user-friendliness, allowing it to be used by both my parents and parents-in-law without much computer knowledge. I would appreciate some further explanation from google why they decided to kill Hello, and some information when and how we can expect the functionality of Hello to be integrated in Picasa or google talk, which would make much good sense of course. I've come to strongly appreciate google for making available great applications such as picasa, hello, blogger, google talk and gmail, but I really regret that they decided to drop Hello so suddenly and unexpectedly while it worked (almost) perfectly. Why didn't they integrate the functionality of Hello in picasa/google talk BEFORE dropping Hello?!

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  28. wonder what they are doing with the dmain name, maybe it is going to be the next great thing like strawberries and chocolate.

    Things could be worse

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  29. The site offers more information.

    << Why is Google shutting down Hello?

    We're shutting down Hello to focus our efforts on the development of Picasa and Picasa Web Albums and other photo sharing efforts, including Talk and the new OpenSocial effort. Our goal continues to be making photo management, editing and sharing as easy as possible.

    What can I use instead of Hello to share my photos?

    Using Picasa software on your PC provides a very simple and fast way to share full-resolution photos online -- you can publish photos on Picasa Web Albums simply by selecting a group of photos and clicking the "Web Album" button. In addition, Google Talk provides both instant messaging, file transfer, and PC-to-PC voice calls. Picasa, Picasa Web Albums, and Google Talk are all free.

    Other solutions you may wish to explore for photo sharing and instant communications include Skype and AIM. Alternatively, utilities and services such as Jing, Skitch, Kwout, and SnagIt duplicate some of the screenshot and sharing functionality found in Hello. >>

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  30. !!! YOU MOTHERFUCKING GOOGLE-MORONS !!!

    Hello was a magnificant little program and I used it frequently to share pics. It was PERFECT for the job... There is nothing else like it around...
    What a SHAME to end it!

    And WORST OFF ALL: we didn't get a credible explanation from you guys.
    All I read is "blablabla" actually, but what is the real reason for shutting down such a popular and beloved service...?

    I can't believe it, I am in love with Hello and you just took it away... If there's not going to be an alternative for Hello from you guys (Google that is) than I AM GOING TO BE VERY VERY AGRESSIVE >(

    In fact, I ALREADY AM... I feel betrayed :(

    CONSEQUENCES AGAINST GOOGLE WILL FOLLOW - YOU GUYS ARE LIERS - I KNOW THE REAL REASON FOR THE SHUTDOWN - COLLABORATORS! (FBI/INTERPOL: SUCK MY ASSHOLE)

    no grtz

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  31. [QUOTE]I've come to strongly appreciate google for making available great applications such as picasa, hello, blogger, google talk and gmail, but I really regret that they decided to drop Hello so suddenly and unexpectedly while it worked (almost) perfectly. Why didn't they integrate the functionality of Hello in picasa/google talk BEFORE dropping Hello?![/QUOTE]

    I say it now and I say it again: THE REASON IS BECAUSE HELLO IS NOT ALLOWED TO EXIST BY THE GOVERNMENT - BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T GOT THE CONTROL OVER IT WHEN YOU SHARE PEER-2-PEER...

    -think about it-

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  32. A lot of great comments here -- but like any thread, if you wait long enough you'll inevitably be visited by the foul-mouthed jerks and then the conspiracy theorists.

    Hello was a fantastic (free) product. I hope Google hears how much it's been missed, and that they decide to add its features to Picasa or GTalk sometime soon.

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  33. Please bring HELLO back
    :'(

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  34. How much longer until Hello is back up and running??????????????? You took away a wonderful thing! PLEASE bring it back SOON!

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  35. i'm quite sad. hello was the best thing ever. especially with the unexpected smilies and hearts.

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  36. I live in Australia have friends and family in Europe and it was the only program where we could share all our photos and instantly discuss them at the same time, we are all very sad about losing Hello and hope it comes back in some form or another its photo sharing capabilities were second to none. We miss it and look out everyday for news of a replacement.

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  37. I loved Hello. I would send little screenshots to my daughter as I surfed and she would send some to me. It was instant and fun. I haven't found anything yet to replace it. This just makes me sad.

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  38. I have just discovered the hard way that google have discontinued Hello without so much as an e-mail to inform their members.

    Is this the sort of service we can expect from Google in the future?

    And how do we now send out photographs from Picasa?

    Richard

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  39. for sure i will qqquit ANYTHING that has any conection with Google..enough is enough

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  40. Hello (again). A replacement for Picasa's hello

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  41. Many of us in the amateur radio world, really enjoyed being able to send pictures via the Hello program. We would have a list of amateurs that were on line. I have talked with many amateurs who are upset with Google dropping this program.

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  42. sucks. there is no decent alternative to this great program.

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  43. Marylander26 on hello was my user name, now I am just sad. I miss "hello" granted I used to exchange naughty pics of my BBW wife but still I miss it a lot. lookin4play@gmail.com is my email address so if you care to trade let me know.
    Please Bring back Hello!!!!

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  44. Stupid Google morons. I also used Hello everyday, how are we going to send the pictures now? We should spam their mailboxes with messgaes to get Hello back online again.

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  45. I started using this new tool called Tonido photos. There are no thirdparty servers involved. I could transfer photos directly to my brother's system without uploading files to any servers. Check out this at http://www.tonido.com/site_photos_home.html

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  46. Hello was the best programm ever!!! D:

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  47. I am very sad to find that Hello had been closed down. It's one of the best programs for chatting and sharing photos ever devised and still has not been surpassed for power and ease of use. I had over 30 friends using it worldwide, and many of my best discussions were held with people half- way across the globe being able to look simultaneously at full sized photos without having to open them up or run a slide show.

    On the principle that if it didn't exist, someone should invent it, I hope it re-emerges with a price tag and stronger marketing.

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  48. I traveled the world over vicariously via an amazing photographer thousands of miles away. Being entirely immobile and not all that photo saavy, I WAS @ the Acropolis, New Zealand, Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, on and on and on. It is he who introduced me to HELLO 3 yrs ago...I cherished/saved ALL. pc crashed November...he so kindly offered to RESEND.

    I have some health issues that recently rendered me quite busted. He was so kind to EVEN purchase a new pc for me.

    AND NOW THIS. It is worse than sad. Between MS, Yahoo, and now Google, there's little to no pleasure as a simple, moderate home user.

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  49. I have added an epitaph to my Journal
    http://herrylaw.blogspot.com/2009/05/hello.html

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  50. We never will forget about jerks of Google who discontinued Hello!
    What a magnificent little programm. Usually bad guys axe good guys!

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  51. Well here I am. I have just gone to Disneyland and need to share my photos with family that live far away. I have to upload them one by one and of course they will not be as good as the originals.

    Once, when my dad's computer crashed we were able to replace all his photos right away because of Hello. It worked great.

    I miss it, very, very, very, very, very, very much!
    BRING IT BACK!! REVIVE IT!! PLEASE!!!

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  52. I miss Hello so much. It was the best photo sharing program out there. I cannot understand why they would take the program away nor why someone else has not put the same thing back out under a different name. If we have the technology for the fast sharing of high res files, why can't we use it?

    I wish they would bring hello back.

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  53. i hear u ashly im the same way but u can use another sharing thing called Gigatribe it works the same way sorta. and u can block acess if u dont want someone veiwing it i use that now since hello was shut down.

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  54. A year has passed, and I still miss this little darn program called Hello. Google had suggested that Hello would be replaced by something similar, for instance withing Google Talk, but so far, I haven't seen something remotely similar on the web. Please, Google, bring Hello back!

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  55. I'm glad they got rid of it, one less tool for child porn traders to use.

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  56. look at this, i still search for "hello alternative" ... then "picasa hello alternative" right on schedule every few months .. ever since they shut it down ...

    not too many people used it but among those of us who did it was magical ... me and my friend dawn sending hilarious pictures to each other stoned ... etcetera ...

    its august 2009 ... people are still commenting ... hello was perfect ... please, bring it back in whatever form you envisioned, call it whatever you want, ... just make it pretty and work so easy ... AIM direct connect still sucks, STILL

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  57. A great replacement for Hello is a service that will be launched at the end of this month by Google: it's called Google Wave. It's a very interesting technology for real-time communications that's also useful for sharing photos, videos, maps and the great thing is that you only need a browser. Sign up for Wave and expect to get an invite in the coming weeks.

    Here's a relevant excerpt from a Google Wave presentation.

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  58. wish hello was still around.... miss it ALOT... we are in the graphics bis and it made real time editing SOOO much easier with screen capture and instant send... and with the chat box on the side... ohh it was heavenly. i really miss hello and i wish they would bring it back

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  59. Hello was not secure and it was used by the authorities in several child porn investigations.
    Some people actually claim that the whole program was in fact set up as a form of entrapment, since it duplicated all shared pictures on a hard to find place on ones hard drive.

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  60. I loved it! when me and my friends go on trips its very hard to share things now, because in facebook and orkut shared albums or picasaweb you have to save each photo individually, it's very complicated and boring. I tried clicking on this hello again and it doesn't seem to exist! I'm really pissed at google for ending it! it was so practical and I loved the smileys and hearts! is there any plausible alternative that does exactly the same things?

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  61. Have anybody try Circlous? (www.circlous.com) It's a new service, let me know what you think. A friend of mine told me that it's similar to Hello and more. It allows you and friends to share pictures directly peer to peer and have discussions them.

    It's sad to see "Hello" go because it's such a cool program.

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  62. I want Hello back, there is no equivalent out there... simply sometimes you want to just share pictures, that's it! And a nice client to do it.... nothing more, nothing less... Hello has been and will be missed. -L

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  63. They are buttholes for shutting it down

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  64. 3 years have passed and there's still no substitute for Hello! Social networking is all the rage nowadays, dozen of startups dealing with sharing are funded every month and nobody comes up with some way of integrating picture sharing and IM in the fluid and dynamic manner that Hello allowed 3 years ago... It just makes me sad... I wish I knew anything about programming. I'd be willing to pay for an Hello-type app and so would many people. The creator of such software could make quite a sum for himself!

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  65. yea you are so right. i loved it. i used it several times a day sending pictures to my sister from across the country. i wish i knew of a substitute. i have looked and looked and can't find nothing. they should never have shut it down.

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  66. I'm so sad!! it was the only good photosharing program! I don't get this decison at all! I still haven't found a way to share photos now..exept on facebook or picasa web and it's terrible because you have to upload them all individually..s there any similar program out there??

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  67. Even after a few years of hello being gone, I miss it, and still don't have a program that is close to what it does..

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  68. Will they ever bring it back??? =(

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  69. I'm still missing Hello. I really wish they would bring something else like this to the market.

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  70. I remember Hello :-). It was such a neat program; I only got to use it a handful of times, but it was magical how quickly photos could be shared. I also liked the integrated chat. It's probably the closest one can get to passing around photos from a distance. Though it was technically more interactive than that.
    I hope a real replacement comes someday soon.

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  71. Just became nostalgic and came here searching for any updates of program!! People still are waiting for a replacement.. wonder why google killed such a wonderful tool!

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  72. I check in here every so often, hoping against hope that either Google will reconsider their decision and start a Hello-like service again, or there will be a message from someone who's found some similar type of program we could use...

    Hello was a daily part of my online life for about two years and I deeply miss it, even after all this time, and I have several online friends that feel the same way.

    We all remark to the fact that no one ever picked up the idea and ran with it after Google shut things down.

    We would be glad (overjoyed, in fact!) to pay $19.95 a year, or perhaps even $29.95 for the functionality that Hello provided, and I'm sure there are many, many others that feel the same, so it could very be a profitable venture.

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  73. I certainly feel the same here. Too bad no one seems to want to fill this void. I certainly wouldn't mind a version that had a price tag attached to it or hit me with several ads each time upon signing in, although ideally I'd prefer to pay than to be subjected to unwanted ads. Alliance will allow me to share files privately and securely, but there's nothing to compare to Google Hello for quick, easy photo sharing. Dropbox can be made to work in this way, and I guess one could argue that Googledrive can fill this void, but neither of these products can do what Hello did as quickly and effortlessly on the part of the user. *Sigh* and this is called "progress."

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  74. Here is my eulogy to Hello. http://herrylaw.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/hello.htm

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