Google has released a public beta of its Picasa for Mac desktop software for organising, editing, and uploading photos.

The software, which runs on Intel Macs with OS X 10.4 or later, marks the first time that Picasa has been offered for the Mac (it joins the Windows and Linux versions already available).

The free Picasa software is designed to help you organise your photos, regardless of where they reside on your computer. It imports (without moving or copying) photos from your iPhoto library and other folders on your Mac, including external hard drives if so desired. It also includes many editing tools, such as those for straightening, text generation, create collages, and removing red eye, as well as Photoshop-like effects and adjustments.

"We want to make it very easy for people to make their photos look better," said Jason Cook, product marketing manager for Picasa, in a phone briefing with Macworld US.

Picasa includes a collage feature that lets you combine multiple images into one.Picasa for Mac also integrates with Google's Picasa Web Albums online photo-sharing service, which Mac users have had access to previously using Google's iPhoto plug-in or the standalone uploader application. Using Picasa, you can keep local and online photos in sync and share photos easily with those in a Gmail address book.

Picasa for Mac will be demoed at Google's booth at Macworld Expo this week.

www.macworld.com