However, what I hadn’t read about before downloading, and was pleasantly surprised to discover, was that the Picasa update supports viewing and editing photos saved in my Canon 300D’s native CRW RAW file format! Awesome!
Apparently the update also supports Nikon’s NEF RAW format as well.
I still will probably use Photoshop for its much more advanced image editing capabilities, but for quick cropping, level adjustments and black and white conversions (with color filtering) I will likely stay within the Picasa 2 environment.
Best of all, Picasa is still offered as a free download.