I have set Faststone as my external editor for the organizer and I am very happy to have it at my disposal.
It's not so much to use the editing tools (which are serious ones), but to help a lot in organizing.
Just try it, you'll first discover how fast it opens and zooms from full display size to 100% pixel view. So much faster than the old 'full view F11 and F12' or switching to the Explorer. Browsing folders is a breeze. That's excellent for fast display, so I would recomment using it before importing from files and folders to select and cull unwanted pictures. For already imported files from card readers, it helps to review jpegs which I'll open in camera raw from the editor. If you want to select and cull files after they have been imported, take care: If you start with no missing files in your catalog, the files you'll delete in fastone in a given folder will be seen as 'disconnected' in your catalog, so immediately do a search for missing files and batch delete them from catalog.
I also like the ability to browse in the file structure when needed.
I like the additional metadata display.
I don't use much the geotagging system of the organizer, so it's great to browse in Fastone and to immediately see the coordinates and call Google Maps to display the map.
I have been using FastStone for several versions and would not be without it. The first few versions I had were only capable of a single instance/window; the last several versions are capable of running two instances at the same time which is very handy. Our machines are never off unless the power is out (too often in poverty stricken rural KY) and FastStone is always open and probably being used.
I have Google Earth Pro and have all of my images Geotagged; like you already said, just click the little blue globe and a location pin literally flies to the spot.
I am always finding out things about my images when I locate them in Google Earth Pro; just an hour or so ago, I clicked an image that had been taken on the return leg of a recent road trip; it was a big black barn with a unique painting on the wall; when I saw it's GPS location, I thought to myself "I have already seen that truck" I went back to the image taken eleven hours earlier from the opposite direction and, sure enough, it was the exact same barn; however, from that direction, one would never have guessed that there was a painting on the other side. If the images had not had GPS coordinates, I would never have guessed that it was the same barn.
FastStone also has an excellent screen capture with numerous capabilities; plus, it has the best scanning dialogue I have ever used.
FastStone has only one weakness in that it cannot batch write embedded jpeg comments; someone enlightened me to the fact that XnView does have the capability to batch write jpeg comments; so, I keep XnView open and do any batch writing of comments with it. FastStone also lacks the ability to display or edit IPTC; XnView has an excellent plug-in for reading and writing IPTC.
That being said, if someone held a gun to my head and said I was going to have to choose only one and lose the other, I would pick FastStone for sure.
Opposite to the way you describe, I have Elements 7 set as the default external editor for FastStone and send my images to Elements from FastStone.
FastStone has an excellent QUICK batch converter feature that is the best/quickest I have ever used for down-sizing images --- but that is not all it can do in batch.
The best date-taken editor.
An excellent renaming/numbering feature.
I could go on and on.
Elements 7 ~~~ 64-bit Windows 7
On a poverty-level Kentucky budget, a 24-exposure roll of film would have two Christmases and a summer vacation on it and we might have to wait another six months before being able to afford developing the film.
I still have trouble remembering that it doesn't cost anything to take thousands of pictures; it just almost seems impossible to be true.