Is Picasa image metadata compatible with Lightroom? The short answer is yes…but. However, this short answer has to be gualified. They are compatible because of Lightroom and not because of Picasa. Or in other words Lightroom is backward compatible. Read on to see the specifics.
Image metadata compatibility exercise
Sometime ago I performed a little experiment with Lightroom and Picasa with regards to the metadata they both add to image files, specifically to JPEG files.
So, I imported into Lightroom some pictures that had tags added with Picasa. Lightroom had no problem reading them. But how about the other way around?
I have added some new tags in Lightroom and brought these pictures up in Picasa. Ta da! I could see the image tags in Picasa. Pretty cool!
This means that no matter what I use, my metadata is portable. This is what I want. Read my complete guide to Picasa generated image metadata.
Lightroom image tags are compatible with Picasa
Lightroom uses the new XMP metadata framework but also fills in the old IPTC metadata fields while Picasa uses mostly the old IPTC framework to record image metadata.
The cool thing is that Lightroom saves image metadata, specifically image tags, in the IPTC format as well in addition to XMP. This is why Picasa is able to read image tags created in Lightroom.
Image metadata is somewhat compatible between Lightroom and Picasa.
Picasa face detection is compatible as well
The new face recognition capability in Picasa is pretty cool. There used to be a concern about Picasa’ face detection tags, but it turns out that Picasa saves face detection tags correctly in the EXIF metadata section.
What about RAW files in Picasa
Raw image files are challenging for Picasa to begin with…Picasa converts every RAW file to JPEG in order to deal with them.
When it comes to metadata however, metadata entered in Lightroom for RAW files will not transfer to Picasa. Raw files (unless they are in DNG format) have their metadata in sidecar files which Picasa does not handle at all.
The bottom line is that I can count on metadata compatibility between Picasa and Lightroom only for jpeg files.
What do you think about Picasa and the way it handles image metadata? Do you have any compatibility issues?
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I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
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