In the last few weeks, I couldn't resist the impression, that Picasa and Blogger have changed some functions in a way, that these services are no longer usable for serious photographers. What happened?
I am a regular submitter to the birding blog "Sturmmöwe". As this is a community blog with lots of people submitting material, the mail interface of Blogger is used to upload articles and attached images. Until a few weeks ago, these images were usually included more or less unaltered, like this one:
If you click through to the full size image, it contains complete EXIF data, i.e. information about date and time the image was taken, and the equipment used. This is vital information for birders, and I regularly check this type of information using a Firefox plugin called "FxIF" ("Exif Viewer" will work just as well).
A few weeks ago, this information was suddenly missing. After uploading images via mail, they looked like this one:
If you load the full size image, the EXIF data is gone, and according to the information now found instead, this images was post-processed by Picasa. That's really bad...
Then a few days ago, I noticed another serious regression. I mailed this image to the blog:
Just to make sure no one has tampered with it, the full size version is stored on my web server. This is the image that was published on the Sturmmöwe blog:
Compare the two full size images, and you will notice, that the second image has been "post-processed". Contrast and saturation were increased, probably to let the image appear more lively. Unfortunately, this was not the intention of me, the photographer. But more importantly, this process introduced very visible JPEG artefacts. And although the quality was reduced and the EXIF data removed, the size of the image file was increased by 20%!
I complained about this behaviour on the Blogger forum, and was asked to see how the image behaves, when uploaded via the web interface. This is not an option for the Sturmmöwe blog, but for completeness sake, let's try it here in my own blog. This is the image uploaded directly from my Picasa album:
And this is the image uploaded from my local disk:
The preview image of the first image has been post-processed, the second not. But the full size versions of both images are okay, they were not changed, though. Puzzler...
So please Google, remove this feature to post-process images uploaded via mail. According to one reply in the forum, this is configurable. I don't see such an option in my blog, maybe it is only available for Google+ users - for which this feature is probably intended in the first place. When uploading images shot with cellular phones and similar optics, some post-processing may be needed. But when the image has already been enhanced with real image processing software, such automatic adjustments will do more harm than good.