Interesting times. I still think Flickr is more compelling than Picasa/Google because Flickr is cross platform (Mac, PC, Linux, mobile phones), and cross blog (MovableType, TypePad, Blogware, Manila) unlike Picasa/Google
Google plan seems to be: offer free services that will get people to post their stuff (including email, blog text posts and blog photo posts) in order for Google to make money off of AdSense, i.e. context specific ads.
Google is wasting no time on their purchase:Free! Organize your digital photos. Download Picasa from Google.The main Picasa page complies with google's non-evil policies:The download itself contains only the Picasa software. Picasa will not uninstall other programs or add any non-Picasa programs or files to your computer.