Picasa Web Albums is still there, but with Google entering the social networks game with Google+, the Web Albums are caught in the middle. Pictures are the number one things that people want to share using social networking sites. Google is trying to transition from Picasa Web Albums to Google+ Photos, leaving Picasa Web Albums in tact for those who choose not to join Google+. This transitional period is messy, and it’s changing daily.
|Picasa 3.8 –> Upload to Picasa Web Albums
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|Picasa 3.9 without joining Google+ –> ‘Upload to Web Album’
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When I sat down to write this article, I was hoping I could make sense of it all and give you a nice, neat explanation of how it all works right now. I can’t. There’s just too much, and it’s changing too quickly.
Here’s what I can tell you:
- Your photos are being uploaded to one physical location. There are two interfaces to view that one set of photos: Picasa Web Albums and Google+ Photos DO NOT delete pictures from one and expect them to still be there in the other – your online pictures only exist once, if you delete them using either interface, they’re gone. Think of it like separate parents with joint custody. Both Picasa Web Albums and Google+ Photos have joint custody of your uploaded pictures. When you’re using Picasa Web Albums, you have all the PWA features like slide-shows which are not yet implemented in Google+.
- If you haven’t joined Google+ then you will only have the Picasa Web Albums interface available to you. Nothing has changed except the button in Picasa 3.9 is now green and reads ‘Share’ rather than ‘Upload’ as it was in PIcasa 3.8 – see screenshots above.
- If you have joined Google+ then your default interface will be Google+ Photos, but you can manually go to the Picasa Web Albums interface at www.picasaweb.google.com/home
note: when I say you ‘have joined’ or ‘haven’t joined’ … I mean that you’re logged in with a Google account that ‘has joined’ or ‘hasn’t joined’ Google+. For example, I have several Google accounts – only one of them has joined Google+. If I log in with one of the others then I ‘haven’t joined’ Google+
- Using Picasa 3.8 on your computer, the button is called ‘Upload’ and you will be using the Picasa Web Albums interface whether you have joined Google+ or not.
- Using Picasa 3.9 on your computer your options are slightly different. If you have not joined Google+, the button will say ‘Share’ and you’re using the Picasa Web Albums interface. If you have joined Google+ the button will say ‘Share on Google+’ and you’re using the Google+ interface to your pictures by default. Remember – your pictures are being uploaded to the same physical location either way (see #1 above.)
- Using Picasa 3.9 and Google+ to create an album viewable by anyone with the link: If you don’t ‘Add circles or people to share with..’ then you are just Uploading – not sharing on Google+. The album created will be private. Then you can go to the album on Google+, click on Options and change to ‘Share Album via Link.’ This is the equivalent of Picasa Web Album’s visibility property of ‘Limited, anyone with link.’ (see member tutorial video: Picasa 3.9 and Google Plus Sharing) If you want to join Google+ but you want to keep managing your Web Albums the same way you did in Picasa Web Albums – by sharing links – then this is the technique for you.
- Image Size and Unlimited Storage: Using Picasa 3.9 and the Share button, if you leave the image size at ‘Best for Web Sharing’, then you have unlimited storage for free on your Web Albums. Specifically, any uploaded picture under 2048 pixels (aka ‘Best for Web Sharing) doesn’t count toward your 1GB of free space.
- Automatic Uploads from your Phone. If you have Google+ installed on your smartphone, then it will automatically upload any photo taken with your smartphone to a private album called ‘From Phone’ or, in Picasa Web Albums ‘Instant Upload.’
If you’ve tried Google+ and you don’t like it and want to go back to the way it was before Google+, you can delete your Google+ Profile. Do not delete your Google account! That will delete all your photo albums, email accounts, blogs, and whatever else you’ve created with your Google Account. To remove Google+ from your Google Account:
- On any Google product page, click on the dropdown arrow next to your picture in the upper right corner and choose Account
- On your Google account page, click on Google+ from the left side menu, then scroll to the bottom where it reads, “Disable Google+” and click the word ‘here.’
- Choose ‘Delete Google+ Content’ and then click the button Remove selected services.
- That’s it! Any content you added to Google+ will be gone – but your pictures will still be there. Remember? Picasa Web Albums had ‘joint custody’ with Google+. If you remove Google+, Picasa Web Albums now has sole custody again. For more details see member tutorial video Removing Google+ to use Picasa Web Albums. This video takes an existing Google account and adds Google+, showing what happens to the Web Albums. Then it removes Google+ and shows the results.
If you used Picasa Web Albums like I did … to house photos that I shared with friends via a link (or to embed in blog) … then there’s no reason why you can’t join Google+. The text in blue above, #6, explains the procedure I follow to maintain the same functionality.
Some people really like Google+. It is a lot faster on my smartphone (and Android i.e. Google phone!) than Facebook. I really like how it allows me to automatically share my Blogger (also Google) blog posts to all my Google+ friends. And, the new ‘Local’ feature I expect will be very handy for finding friends’ reviews of favorite eating places and other businesses.
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