Dec 142011

Last week, Google came out with a new version of Picasa – version 3.9.  There are some major differences between this version and its predecessor, version 3.8.  Here’s the official list:

  • Added ability to upload to Google+: share with circles, post pictures to your stream, and upload images at original size.
  • Social Tagging: name tag people in your Google+ circles and notify them via G+.
  • 24 New photo editing effects, including my top picks: Adding frames with Border, Polaroid, Vignette/Matte or Museum Matte, adding special effects like Pencil Sketch, Invert Colors, Posterize, Focal Zoom
  • Side by side editing: compare two pictures side-by-side, or compare different edits on the same picture.
  • Updated RAW support for pictures from newer cameras.
  • Support for WebP files.
  • On the Tools > Experimental menu, we’ve added support for migrating your database to another local drive.
  • Improvements to Face Movie maker: number of photos included, chronological ordering.
  • Sync now uploads unshared albums privately.
  • Improved restoring of virtual albums when you uninstall and reinstall, or move to a new computer. Album data is written to the picasa.ini file now, along with all of your other edits.
  • OAuth support: use 2-factor accounts without getting an application-specific password.

Where Are My Buttons?

The biggest difference you will see as soon as you upgrade to 3.9 is on the bottom line.  Your buttons are gone!  In 3.8 and earlier versions you saw this:

Old, comfortable, buttons in version 3.8 and less


New buttons in version 3.9 before logging in to Google Plus

New buttons in version 3.9 after logging in to Google Plus

So, Upload has changed to Share, we still have Email, Print, and Export.  But what happened to all the rest?  In case you’ve never used the other buttons, here are articles on Shop, BlogThis!, Collage, Movie, Geotag, and Facebook (includes installation instructions.)  You can get them all back on your bottom toolbar by clicking on the Tools menu, Configure buttons …, and Reset to Defaults.  When you click OK, your toolbar will look like the image below (Facebook button requires previous installation.)


Picasa 3.9 toolbar with all the buttons restored.

I’m not quite sure why Google removed all the buttons in the first place – maybe they have some future plans for that space?!  If you don’t want to put them all back, you can still access the features via the menus.

  • Shop = File | Order Prints…
  • BlogThis! = Create | Publish to Blogger…
  • Collage = Create | Picture Collage…
  • Movie = Create | Movie
  • Geo-Tag = Tools | Geotag on Google Earth
  • Facebook = not a Picasa feature, you need to install the button using these instructions

What Happened to Picasa Web Albums?

It’s still there.  If you have not joined Google Plus, then the ‘Share’ button takes you to Picasa Web Albums with no change.  However, if you *have* joined Google Plus then the Share button takes you to Google Plus photos.  It’s the same albums of your photos.  If you just joined Google Plus, you’ll see that all of your Picasa Web Albums are there.  Think of it like a fast food restaurant, you can go inside or use the drive-thru – it’s the same hamburgers either way.  With Picasa Web Albums and Google Plus photos, it’s the same pictures, just a different interface.  Even if you have joined Google Plus, you can still see your pictures with the same Picasa Web Albums interface by going to (if you’re logged in) or (if you’re not logged in.)

Google wants you to use Google Plus! They are hoping that Google Plus will compete with Facebook as your social network of choice.  They are enticing us to join by bribing us with new features if you use Google Plus Photos for your pictures.  Including:

  • Basic and fancy editing right with the picture all online. When viewing a single photo in Google Plus Photos, you have a new ‘Edit Photo’ button. It gives you immediate rotate and auto-fix options and then a really cool ‘Creative Kit’ which takes you to a Picnik-like web-based app where you can crop, fix lighting, add text, add clipart, and even give yourself a tan! The big difference with this online editing tool, and the Picnik tool that you get with Picasa or Web Albums is that all the options are free, there are no ‘premium’ features.
  • More storage space for your pictures.  Pictures of 2048 pixels and less are always free on Picasa Web Albums and Google Plus.  If you upload using Google Plus your pictures are automatically resized to be under that limit, in essence giving you unlimited picture storage.
  • Beautiful new collage-style display of album pictures.  In Google Plus Photos, when you open an album, you’re greeted with a collage of your photos, when you hover your mouse over any one it enlarges.
    G photo-album
  • More control over sharing.  Some people who view Google Plus Photos for the first time are distressed over their perception of how the pictures are shared – thinking that everyone on Google Plus can now see their photos.  Actually, you have much greater control with Google Plus Photos than you did with Picasa Web Albums.
    Picasa Web Albums gave you 4 choices for visibility of your pictures
    Google Plus Photos give you the same 4 choices and adds the ability to make the pictures visible to specified ‘Circles.’
    What gets some people upset is that, in Google Plus Photos, people who you share a photo with can also see who else you shared with.  See Google’s information on the difference between Picasa and Google Plus Photos on ‘Who can see the people I’ve shared with?

More …

One thing I was SO hoping to see in this new release was a re-design of the Collections sidebar – the left side where you see the lists of all folders, albums, people, etc.  I think this area is very confusing to people and needs a redesign badly.  Here’s my previous article on the topic: Picasa, I Love You, Now Change!

In next week’s Picasa tip, I’ll cover the cool new editing features and effects that have been added to Picasa 3.9.  I will also have some tutorial videos coming soon for Members of Geeks on Tour.

Discuss this!

Geeks on Tour members have been discussing Picasa 3.9 in our forum.  Check it out.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

  36 Responses to “Picasa Releases version 3.9”

  1. Unfortunately 3.9 has complete broken the text tool. Where as before when I finished adding my text I used the “Save” or “Save a copy” feature. However now when I “save” all my text disappears.

    Strangely if I go back to the text tool, I briefly see all my text strewn around “under” the photo and then the photo shows up again. Please provide instructions for returning to 3.8. 3.9 is defective.

  2. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for great information I was looking for this information for my mission.

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  3. i will like to try it b4 i can make any comment, thanks!

  4. I’m having trouble editing or deleting albums at: There are only two albums in there. I cannot find a way to edit or delete these albums. When I go to and log in, I see a bunch of albums, but NOT the two at the URL. These two old albums are not listed under Public Albums or Unlisted Albums. Am I the only one with this problem? Is there anyway to get these two old albums to be in with the rest of my Google+ albums so I can edit or delete them? If you know how to do this please tell me, or send me a link to a tutorial please. Thanks for your help.

  5. I am a novice so please help. Can I download movies from my camera to picasa ?

  6. Donde encuento el código HTML de los albunes que tengo en Google+. Antiguamente cuando los subia con el picasa 3.8 me daba la opción de Incrustrar en blog. Donde lo encuentro ahora
    Un salud

  7. Google Blew it with their integration of Google+ with Picasa 3.9 as far as I’m concerned. I purchased 90 GB Google storage to host my clients home inspection pictures among other things on Picasa web albums with privacy set to those that have ythe hyperlink.. When I first upgraded to 3.9 Picasa threw everything into my Google+. I had to roll back the date on my computer to get version 3.8 back with limited functionality to complete my work. After examining things I closed my Google+ so I could update to version 3.9 and not have to put all my customers photos in separate Google+ circles. Google should have given us an option for this not forcing it down our throat. I no longer use Google+ because of this.

    • I am done with google+ and picasa after this crap. I used to post all kinds of soccer pictures for the kids and families. A fair number of them do not have google accounts nor do they want any. I used to be able to send folks to their own directories to view game photos. The kids loved it. Parents loved it because the photos could not be searched by pervs. Nice work google.

      • I ditched Google+ and Picasa 3.9 works as it did. I didn’t want all my home inspection clients in their Google+ circle. I can still say sare only with those that have a link.

        Google+ loose another one to Facebook.

        • The same privacy options are still there, it just takes understanding the new procedures. If you are using Picasa with a Google account that has google plus:
          1. In Picasa: Select the photos you want to upload
          2. Click ‘Share on Google+, but don’t fill in anyone to share it with. You should notice that the Upload button says ‘Upload’ and not ‘share’
          3. Once they’re uploaded, it’s a private album, not shared with anyone.
          4. click on the dropdown arrow by ‘More’ and choose ‘Share album via link’
          Now you can just send that link to whoever you want to share with. You have not share with anyone thru Google+ this way.

      • The same privacy options are still there, it just takes understanding the new procedures. If you are using Picasa with a Google account that has google plus:
        1. In Picasa: Select the photos you want to upload
        2. Click ‘Share on Google+, but don’t fill in anyone to share it with. You should notice that the Upload button says ‘Upload’ and not ‘share’
        3. Once they’re uploaded, it’s a private album, not shared with anyone.
        4. click on the dropdown arrow by ‘More’ and choose ‘Share album via link’
        Now you can just send that link to whoever you want to share with. You have not share with anyone thru Google+ this way.

  8. I have not signed up for google+ yet. I uploaded an album into my picasa albums and was going to share it with a “group” but wanted to edit it first to see who was in this particular group. It won’t let me edit the list. I am very disappointed. Any suggestions?

  9. Definitely found this post helpful as I was scratching my head looking for the ‘Blog This’ button!!


  10. While awaiting moderation.of my comment I quit my Google+, Now hopefully I can restore the Functionality I had and pay for with 80G of storage. Bad decision to try to force Google + on us like this. After I Update in a day or two when hopefully every thing Google+ gets shut down I will let you know how Version 3.9 works without Google+.

  11. I was so upset after installing Picasa 3.9 that I was no longer able to use Picasa’s Web albums for my home inspection business. I had to set my PC computer go to a previous restore point to get back version 3.8 with some functionality lost in the process. Admittedly there are some beautiful display improvements with 3.9 in Google+ but my Google+ account is for my social photography, not for my business. I can’t see putting each one of my clients in their own separate circle. It seems my options are limited, my first choice is to quit Google+. the second option would be to log into a different Google account that does not have Google+ associated with it. If Google is trying to compete with Facebook this is a way to lose Google+ subscribers. I frequently put my Picasa web links in Facebook but I don’t want to put my customers home inspection photos in my Google+ . Please give me a reasonable workaround this. I need to be able to choose my own resolution and choose whether it is publicly viewed or only to people that have that URL. I need an option to turn off Google + intergration for all those photos except the ones that I have chosen for public viewing. I buy 80 GB of storage space from Google for my photos.

  12. The 3.9 version will display only 4 to 6 photos even though I’ve specified 14 in the photo tray. I cannot increased the number of photos on the options tab. I don’t know how to increase the number of photos I want to have in the face movie. Very frustrating. Please advise.

  13. Thank you!!!

  14. Thank you for explaining this – I was in the pit of despair when I realized my buttons were gone, and now I can rejoice yet again at being able to easily ship my photos to Shutterfly. Thanks again!

  15. Thanks for a great article.

    I’ve noticed that once I have my Google+ account “linked” in the new version, the face detection/suggestion starts to really fail badly.

    It keeps trying to “suggest” people that are in my Google+ circles (and gets it wrong, every single time, because most of the faces are not on Google+)

    Do you know how to “unlink” the Google+ in Picasa? (I don’t need to share photos on the web, I just use Picasa on the desktop)

    • The only way to unlink Picasa from Google Plus is to use a google account that has not joined Google Plus. If you don’t want to change to a different account then you can remove your Google Plus profile from your Google Account. Or – if you don’t care about uploading at all … how about just logging out? Upper right corner in Picasa – click on Sign Out.

  16. Chris,

    Thanks so much for your info, I am in the process of teaching Picasa to 15 students (seniors) and I always tell them about geeksontour.

    • Chris & Vivien,
      I have taken Vivien’s Picasa class in Port Charlotte, Fl. She is the BEST teacher ever. I was already quite familiar with Picasa but thought I might pick up some pointers…boy did I! Also, I was following your Picasa tutorials but not utilizing it to the best advantage. With Vivien’s class encouragement I went indepth and you are now my Picasa bible!

      Thanks to all of you for helping me to become quite adept at Picasa which I love, especially with Picnic integrated. However, I do believe the Picnic integration needs some work!!!

      Patti Wunder Williams

  17. Are you guys able to download web albums? coz i’m not, not sure is it 3.9 or my system…

  18. Great recap, thank you. Why don’t you have any social sharing options on your posts? Makes passing along your info much more difficult/far less likely. Just a thought…

  19. Thank you, we appreciate all your work and imput!

  20. Thank you, we appreciate all your work and imput!

  21. I AGREE with your thoughts on Picasa’s left sidebar — Change is needed. Thanks for the 3.9 info.

  22. Chris, you have once again done an excellent job of presenting the information we all need in clear understadable terms. Thank you!

  23. My biggest concern was not being able to access the web albums that had been shared with me. Since I do have Google + I found they could be accessed at: Usually Google is not this heavy handed, I am not fond of the photos on Google + but I do not want to delete the rest of the program because of the photos.

    • Totally agree. I do not like the synching with Google+. I much preferred synching with Picasa Web Albums and feel the forcing to Google+ is heavy handed.

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