Use Picasa For Easy Cross-Platform Photo Screensaver Customization

Google is always striving to add more features to its suite of web apps to make them more attractive to its users. Picasa, their excellent cloud based photo management and storage tool, has a wonderful screen saver feature that makes great use of all the photos you have stored on the servers.

If you are like me, you want to make your transition from computer to computer as seamless as possible. One way to do this is with the Google photo screensaver using Google Picasa. Thanks to its use of cloud storage, the Picasa screensaver can be a uniform personalized experience across multiple computers.

Picasa is avaliable for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How To Set Up A Google Photo Screensaver

First, download Picasa. It’s a free piece of software, and I think its one of the best photo management tools around. It is available  for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This tutorial is aimed only at Windows users, however.

Picasa's Main Window

Once you have Picasa installed, you will see a window similar to this one. Near the top is a familiar menu bar. To start setting up your Picasa screensaver, click Tools and then Configure Screensaver.

Windows Screen Saver Settings

The new window may be familiar to you too. It is the Windows Screen Saver Settings window. The differences come when you click Settings, which we will do now.

Google Photos Screensaver Settings

The Google Photos Screensaver settings window gives you the ability to change which photos come up in your screen saver. You can pick from photos saver to your local drive, those stored in Picasa locally or on the web, or even from public sites.

You can check any or all of the boxes. The Configure button for each source gives you more options for each. Here you can also change the switching time for pictures and choose the visual effects from a drop down list. When you are done, press OK and Apply a few times, and you are done.

Google Photos Screensaver In Action

Some of the image effects of the Picasa Screensaver are beautiful. Here is a sample screensaver:

Picasa Screensaver set to Collage

The Collage transition effect creates a falling stack of your photos, making it look like they are spread across your screen. It probably my personal favorite. The Push setting creates the effect of one photo pushing another across the screen. The images are displayed at full resolution and exchange places using this pushing motion. The Checkerboard transition creates the effect of a photo pixilating, revealing another photo behind it. Again, these pictures are displayed at full resolution.

Thought On Picasa Screensavers

While Windows has the native ability to set up photo based screensavers, I feel that Picasa’s unique inclusion of web stored photos, both on Picasa albums and other sources, makes it the best tool for the job. Seeing photos from my desktop always makes me smile.

What do you think of Picasa? Would you use the Screensaver options? What your favorite transition effect? Let us know in the comments below.

Also, if there is a tool or tip you want to see covered on Ampercent, let us know via the Tip Box by sending an email to

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