Whilst the free download for Picasa has been removed (as promised) it still works fine. In fact on my recent trip was the one reliable piece of software an a laptop struggling under a windows 10 upgrade. The alternative, google photos boldly promoted by google on the picasa download page, just proved inaccessible while I was away. Mainly because I was having difficulty accessing the local form of WiFi hotspots. Basically I see googles photos as an on-line and mobile only service and thus of little interest to me. Whilst I once recommended sharing via google picasa web albums, as a way to control the sharing (rather than it being always public, as in most other social net services). This is no longer the case and to share on google photos is effectively public. You can still store your photos privately and that is the default. However if you are concerned about privacy, a better option is just don’t upload photos to the net services. My trust in google as a place to store your photos has been significantly eroded this year already and my recommendation is to make sure google photos is not the only place you keep your photos (ie download then and back them up, do it now!)
There is one exception, after Microsoft abandoned Live Writer, I started using Open Live Writer (Microsoft had made the sensible move and made their well loved blogging tool open source). which just happens to seamlessly store any photos for the blog post in google photos. This works fine so for at least the short term (ie until that stops working) it is public sharing and I’m aware of that and I contune using google photos in my blog posts (a task largely taken over by flickr at the moment by the way) but probably for nothing else.