Google is Porting Picasa to Linux

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-02-13

Yes, it's true. They're working with codeweavers. And while it's not a full port (they're using Wine), it raises quite a few eyebrows:

Google and CodeWeavers Inc. are working together to bring Google's popular Windows Picasa photo editing and sharing program to Linux. The program is now in a limited beta test. If this program is successful, other Google applications will be following it to the Linux desktop, sources say.

The Linux Picasa implementation includes the full feature set of the Windows Picasa 2.x software. It is not, strictly speaking, a port of Picasa to Linux. Instead, Linux Picasa combines Windows Picasa code and Wine technology to run Windows Picasa on Linux. This, however, will be transparent to Linux users, when they download, install, and run the free program on their systems.

Desktop Linux is what? .3% of the desktop market? .03%? And using codeweavers? No enterprsie app company works with codeweavers, and few if any enterprise apps use Wine. This smacks of amateurism, says my coworker Mary Jo Foley. And to me, it sounds like Google's 20% rule, wherein they let their workers work on side projects 20% of the time.

Sure, Google has been competing with the edges of Microsoft's business for a while. But this doesn't seem like a move in that direction. If it was, they would have done this back when they hired Marc Lucovsky.

So what could possibly be the motivation behind this?
  1. Google wins points with the desktop linux community.
  2. Google dicks with Microsoft. This is a strategical feint to make MS concerned about their OS business. And the news comes soon after the Goobuntu misdirect.
  3. Google knows the path to your heart is through your photos? Google increases photo support. This is actually the second time in the last few months that Google's news has concerned photos. The other time was when they announced the deal with Lexar, putting Google apps, including Picasa, on Lexar USB drives. Lexar is also the leading provider of flash memory to digital camera manufacturers.
Anybody else got any ideas?

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