Over the past couple of months Google has been doing a lot of work on improving Picasa Web Albums. The improvements have included functionality and layout changes. Recently Google has been experimenting with a new layout which features a more social photo viewing experience. The new layout includes not only your albums, but recent activity of people you follow and some featured photos that you may be interested in.
This new update helps keep you up to date with photos from friends, family and other important people in your life. Your homepage will show the most recent activity of these three sections: My Recent Albums, Recent Activity and Featured Photos. The homepage also shows the most recent comments on photos found on the right sidebar of the homepage. Further comments and photos can be found by clicking the View All or Show All Activity links next to the section headers.
It looks to me like Google is trying to keep its photo sharing site up to par with other sites, not mentioning any names. I’m not sure how many people use Picasa Web Albums versus other photo sharing sites, but I would have to say it’s definitely not in the top spot.