Chris Guld

Aug 222016
 

Just testing an option for slideshows. Using the Slides app on Google Drive means you have immediate access to your photo albums in Google Photos. You still have to build a slide show just like if you were using PowerPoint. When you’re done, you have the option to “Publish to Web” and Embed by copying code to put into any website. A really cool part of this is the ability to click the button to make the slideshow full screen,

Aug 102016
 

picasaI know that Picasa has been retired by Google, but it is still available, and it still is the best free software for managing pictures on your computer. If you’re going to use it, you need to understand that the pictures must come from your computer. Picasa works with the pictures that are stored on your computer’s hard drives.

Your first Stop in Picasa should be Folder Manager!  It is a common misconception that once you install Picasa, your pictures are ‘IN’ Picasa.  But that is not true.  Picasa is not a container.  It is simply a tool for working with the pictures that are on your computer.  If you use Picasa to delete a photo, you will be deleting that photo from your computer.  If you remove Picasa from your computer, your pictures are still there. You can tell Picasa which folders of pictures you want it to display by using Tools->Folder Manager.  It starts out scanning your whole computer for pictures, but you should go into Folder Manager and remove the folders you don’t want to see in Picasa.  Here is a video that shows you how to use Folder Manager.

Understand Files and Folders! Many years ago our computer training company helped people computerize their accounting systems.  The first thing we had to do was review their manual accounting system.  If their manual system was a mess, computerizing it would just be a bigger mess and getting messier faster!  The same principle applies with your organization of pictures.  If you don’t understand the folders on your computer where your pictures are located, you really won’t understand where they are once you start using Picasa!  If you use a Windows-based computer, that means learning to use Windows Explorer.  If you use a Macintosh, that means learning to use the Finder.  Your pictures are most likely stored in the My Pictures folder on your computer – with or without Picasa!

Please read thru these articles:

Happy Computing!
Jim and Chris Guld

Geeks on Tour

Jul 032016
 

Several years ago, I wrote about how to use Picasa Web Albums to create a slideshow that can be embedded into a web page. The slideshow was really sweet, but it used Flash to make it work and Flash has fallen out of favor in the web world, and simply doesn’t work in many situations. Today, July 1, 2016, your Picasa Web Albums embedded slideshow will still work, but on August 1 it won’t.

This:

Will turn into this:
Picasa Web Album Embedded Slideshow after 8-1-16

If you’re not sure if you’ve ever used the Picasa Web Albums embedded slideshow feature, then you probably haven’t. It was a pretty special/hidden feature. You had to go to Picasa Web Albums on a web browser, not the Picasa software on your computer. You had to know about the hidden command in the right sidebar, under “Link to this album” and then “Embed Slideshow.” That would present you with some HTML code that you had to copy and paste into the HTML code on your website or blog.

Picasa Web Album Embedded Slideshow command

On August 1, Your Slideshows will Disappear, What To Do?

The writing has been on the wall that this feature would disappear someday … that someday is here. If you have used this feature, it won’t work after August 1. Here is the official announcement. If you know where your embedded slideshows are, and you’re willing to put in the time, you might be happy with the Google Photos Animation feature to show those photos, or maybe the Google Photo movie feature.

Here’s a video I’ve made on how I’m using Google Photos Animations to replace the old Picasa Web Albums Embedded Slideshow feature.

 

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you might also want to view videos on making Movies:

imageChris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Jun 152016
 

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

If you and your friend both use Google Photos, it is so easy to send them photos. You can send just one, or you can send hundreds of photos with one link, no need to break it up into small pieces, no need to attach to emails. There is also no need to use time and bandwidth to download and upload, because this process gets the pictures from your account in the cloud and transfers them directly to your friend’s account in the cloud.

mycloud2yours

To send a group of photos to a friend, follow these steps:

  1. You can use a computer and Photos.Google.com, or a mobile device and the Google Photos App
  2. Select the photos you want to send. You can select large groups by first putting them in an album, then sharing the album. You can also select a large group of photos on a computer by selecting the first one, scrolling down to the last and hold the shift key as you click on it. You can then click to deselect any pictures that don’t belong. On a mobile device, long-press on the first one and drag thru the rest.
  3. Click the share button and choose Get Link. A link has now been copied.
  4. You can now paste that link into an email that you send to your friend. You can also paste it into a text message, or a facebook post, or even a blog page.
  5. When your friend receives the link and clicks it, they will see all the pictures you shared. They don’t need a Google Photos Account to see them, but if they do use Google Photos and are logged into their account, they will see a cloud button with a down arrow. When they click that, all the pictures they see will be added to their own Google Photos library.

That’s it! You select and send. Your friend opens and saves.

If you are a GeeksOnTour.com premium member, you should watch the following videos from the Google Photos learning group:

  1. 435. Selecting Photos
  2. 436. Sending Pictures to a Friend
Jun 072016
 
Google Photos will store your entire library, many thousands of photos, for free!

Google Photos will store your entire library, many thousands of photos, for free!

YES!! If you choose the photo size called High Quality and not Original, Google Photos will store your entire photo library of many thousands of photos, for free. Learn more from the Google Photos Help page.

What is High Quality?

At the High Quality size, Google maintains your photos’ pixels up to 16 MegaPixels. That’s 4,000 X 4,000. That’s more than most digital cameras offer today. It’s big. So it sounds like it only reduces your photo if it’s more than 16 megapixels right? Well, not exactly. It does take your photo and compresses the file size while maintaining the same number of pixels. Your 12 megapixel photo will still be 12 megapixels, but where the .jpg file for the original photo may have been 3 MB (megabytes), the file that is uploaded is compressed to about half that.

If you take pictures for personal use, just select High Quality and don’t even think about it. It is truly high quality. That’s is big enough to completely fill your computer screen and be very sharp. I have printed 8X10 glossies of a picture using the original .jpg file and using the compressed ‘High Quality” file and I could not tell the difference.

If you are a professional photographer who may want your picture to grace the cover of a magazine, that’s another story. I’m sure you want your original. So keep the original somewhere, but you may still want to use Google Photos at the High Quality setting. The smaller files give you a faster experience when viewing, searching, uploading, downloading,and sharing than the full size.

image

If I have Unlimited storage, why does it say I have 13 Gigabytes remaining?

Google gives everyone 15 Gigabytes of storage for free. This storage is shared by all your Google services; Gmail, Google Drive, Contacts, Photos, etc. So, Gmail and Drive may be taking up 2 Gigabytes, for example, bringing your quota down to 13. Photos uploaded using Google Photos at High Quality do not count. So, if you uploaded even 20 Gigabytes of photos, you would still have 13 GB of your quota left.

If you upload photos using Google Drive, they will count against your quota. It’s only when you upload using the Google Photos Backup and Sync, with setting at High Quality, that they don’t count.

What about Pictures I already uploaded at Original Size?

Google now gives you a way to retroactively set past uploads to the High Quality and thus recover the storage space used up on your quota. Using a computer, go to Photos.Google.com, click on the 3 line menu and then Settings. You’ll see an option to Recover Storage. Click that and any already uploaded pictures will be compressed.

image

Does Uploading Pictures with Picasa use the High Quality Setting?

No. Picasa still uses an old standard size called “Best for Sharing.” This is defined as 2048 pixels on the longest side. To put it in the same terms, let’s say a picture is 2048X2048 – that would be just over 4 MegaPixels – or 1/4 the size of the new “High Quality.”

Here’s what you do: Use Picasa to upload photos at the Original Size option. This will count against your storage quota from Google, but you can later use the option to Recover Storage and retroactively compress those files.

May 312016
 

imageby Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

This is what I do now: All my photos collect in the cloud with Google Photos, I make albums of my best photos there, then I download those albums to my computer so I have them in Picasa for safekeeping, collages, text on photos etc. Picasa can Upload to Google Photos, creating an album of photos online. Picasa can also download Albums from Google photos online, creating folders of pictures on your computer that can even synchronize with the cloud.

To upload from Picasa on your computer to Google Photos

  1. Select the photos you want to upload. You’ll see them in the selection tray in the lower left.
  2. Click the Green “Upload to Google Photos” button, log in to your Google account if necessary
    image
  3. Select an existing Album, or click the New button and enter a new album name
  4. Choose a size: Original or Best for Sharing
    We recommend Original – this will count against your storage allotment, but you can recover that space later. Selecting Best for Sharing will reduce the resolution of your photos to 2048 px.
  5. Click Upload

To Download from Google Photos to your Computer and Picasa

  1. Click the File menu and Import from Google Photos
  2. Selecting “Import All Albums” will do just that, or clicking on “Import Selected Albums” allows you to specify
  3. These downloaded albums will create folders on your hard drive under the Pictures folder. They will show up in Picasa in the “Web Albums” collection below Folders
  4. In addition to downloading your photos to a folder, you can click the “Sync to Web” button so that any new photos added to the album will be added to the computer. So, you can make a collage using Picasa, then add that collage to the Synced folder and it will be uploaded to
    image

A major advantage to this method of downloading is that captions are preserved! If you added descriptions using Google Photos – those descriptions show up as captions in Picasa. This is not true when you use Google Photos download command. There is also one drawback to this method – Picasa will only download pictures that are not already on your computer. So, if some of these pictures in the Google Photos album started out on your computer, then the album download will create a folder that is missing those pictures. You can avoid this either by always uploading to the cloud first, and just downloading albums. Or, by using folder manager to limit what Picasa is seeing from your computer – fooling it, if you will, into not knowing that those photos already exist.

I use this method all the time to incorporate Picasa into my photo workflow. I gather all my pictures in the cloud with Google Photos – thousands of them – then I download just the best, the ones in albums.

For Geeks on Tour Premium Members

Here are some tutorial videos related to this subject. If you’re not a member, you can join here.

May 242016
 

I have roughly 50,000 photos collected online using Google Photos.

image

Wanna watch my slideshow? I’ll bet not! You’d need a few days of uninterrupted time, and several buckets of popcorn!

No, I want to select just my best pictures and put them in Albums. Then I’ll share my Albums with you.

image

How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Mobile Device

I do still use a computer, but more and more, it’s my phone that I use to view pictures. It’s nice that I don’t have to use a computer in order to organize my photos into albums. It also doesn’t matter if I use my Samsung Galaxy phone, my iPhone, or my iPad. All of these devices can run the Google Photos app, and they’ll all be looking at my same library of photos.

  1. Select one or more pictures: LongPress on one picture and it will be selected and open up a selection ‘button’ for all your other pictures. Any further pictures you tap on will be added to the selection. You can also select a group all at once by long-pressing on the first and drag thru the rest of the group.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right. This opens up your options to create a new Album (or Movie, Animation, Collage) or Add to an Existing one. You need to scroll down to see the Existing Albums.
  3. If you choose Create New Album – you will be prompted for an Album Name. If you do nothing here, it will be named “Untitled”
  4. Done!

If you make an album by accident, you can delete it by tapping on the 3-dot menu in upper right and choose Delete Album. Note that the album needs to be selected first.

How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Computer

Realize when you’re viewing your Google Photos on a computer (photos.google.com) you’re looking at the same 50,000 pictures as you are when you use a phone. Any albums you create using the phone will be viewable using the computer – and vice versa.

  1. Select one or more pictures. When you hover your mouse over a photo, you will see a selection button (round checkmark) appear in the upper left corner – click that to select one photo. Click the select button on further photos to add to the selection. You will see a count of how many photos are selected in the blue bar that appears at the top of your screen. To select a group of photos use the standard procedure of clicking on the first picture, then holding the shift key down when you click on the last picture in the group.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right of screen and select Album (as opposed to Shared, Animation, or Collage)
  3. Next you have the option to make a New album or add to Existing
  4. If you chose New – you will be prompted for an Album name
  5. Done

If you upload photos from your computer to Google Photos, you will have the option to add all photos just uploaded to an album. See this demo we did in Episode 77 of our “What Does This Button Do?” on uploading from computer directly to an album.

How to Make a Google Photos Album using Picasa

If you’re accustomed to using Picasa to make your Web Albums – nothing has changed.

  1. Select the photos you want to upload to an Album
  2. Click the Green Button at the bottom “Upload to Google Photos”
  3. Choose an existing album from the drop-down list, or Click New to make a new album and give it a name.
  4. For size – we recommend the “Original Size” setting. This will initially count against your Google storage allotment rather than free, but you can use the “Recover Storage” feature later to convert the photos to “High Quality.”

So there you have it! The best of both worlds. All 50,000 photos stored safely, for your eyes only, in your Google Account. And, the best photos available in albums so you don’t have to go slogging thru all the riff-raff. If you want to share, use the share button on an album!

If you are a Premium Member of Geeks on Tour, here are some tutorial videos you should watch:

What Does This Button Do?

Geeks on Tour presents a Free Weekly Web Class all about learning to use smartphones and tablets. We have focused on Google Photos for several of these shows, each one is 40-60 minutes.

May 112016
 

Apple-GoogleIf you use an iPhone, you are in the Apple world, and it seems logical to use the Apple photo solutions: Apple Photos and iCloud Photo Library. But, you also have the option to use the Google solution called Google Photos.

Have you been getting frustrated with constant messages by Apple that your iPhone is FULL, or that you need to buy more iCloud space?  Or are you simply confused about how your iPhone works with iCloud and your Mac or PC computer? Then you owe it to yourself to take a look at Google Photos. And, if you have an Android device, Google Photos is the logical choice.

I am a Google fan-girl, and I use Google Photos for all my photos. I use an Android phone and Windows computer. I also have an iPad, an iPhone, and a Mac computer so that I can test how things work and be able to help people who use the Apple ecosystem. After using Google Photos for the year since it was released, and exploring the Apple iCloud system throughout that time, I think I’ve come up with the fundamental differences. First let me tell you how they are alike, and a little about how they work.

The Common Purpose

Both Google Photos and Apple’s iCloud Photo Library (different from Photo Stream) will store all of your photos online (aka “in the Cloud”) and allow you to view them all using a mobile device or computer. Both of them will automatically upload photos taken by your phone (or tablet) to your account online. Once all your photos are collected online, you can view them by going to a website (photos.google.com or iCloud.com) or using an App on your mobile device. Both Apple’s App and Google’s App are called “Photos.”

But that’s where the similarities end.

The Fundamental Differences

  1. Devices Supported:
    Apple’s iCloud supports iOS, Mac, and PC, but not Android.
    Google Photos supports iOS, Mac, PC, and Android. So, if you have an Android device that you use to take pictures, Apple’s iCloud solution is off the table.
  2. Deleting Photos from Device:
    Apple’s iCloud Photo Library cannot delete from device. If you delete a photo from any device using iCloud Photo Library it is deleted from every other device. There is one exception – if you have installed iCloud Photo Library on your Windows computer, it will receive all new photos added, but will not remove photos deleted from elsewhere. In other words, there is no “Sync’ing” with iCloud photos on Windows after the initial download of the photos.
    Google Photos allows you to delete photos from the mobile device that took the picture, while leaving the photo available in the Cloud.
  3. Basic Cloud Philosophy:
    Apple: Apple uses the Cloud as a service to keep devices in sync. You can see the photos by going to iCloud.com, but you can’t do anything with them there.
    Google: Google uses the Cloud as the end game. It is where all our our photos collect and live forever. You can edit and create with them there.
  4. Original vs. Compressed File Size:
    Apple Apple uploads your original size photo and allows you to shrink the copy left on your phone.
    Google Google allows you to shrink the photo that is uploaded and leaves the copy on your phone untouched. You can then delete the phone copy to free up space.
    I prefer Google’s method since it takes less bandwidth to upload smaller photos online. It also means that your web photos will be faster to view and use. Google’s compressed size is called “High Quality” and it maintains up to 16 Megapixels of photo quality while compressing the file size by about half. These are plenty good enough quality for family memories, you can print a good 8X10. If I really want to keep the original, I can use another method to copy my original photos. Either another cloud service like OneDrive, DropBox, or Amazon, or use a USB cable and copy the photos to my computer.
  5. Cost:
    Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage space. That fills up quickly with full size photos. For only $1/mo you can purchase 50GB more. That is certainly cheap enough – I don’t mind pay the $1, what I mind is having to pay attention!
    Google gives you unlimited Free storage for photos IF you use the “High Quality” size discussed in #4 above. The High Quality unlimited free option is our recommendation. If you choose to upload your original quality photos, they will count against your 15GB of free Google storage. To buy more, is $1.99/mo for 100GB.
  6. Sync with Computer
    Apple iCloud
    sees your Mac computer as another sync’ed device as long as you have iCloud Photo Library turned on. Add a photo from any device and it adds to every other one, delete a photo from any device and it deletes from all. The Photos App has a version that runs on the Mac – so your Mac computer is like a mobile device in the way Photos works. You can, however specify original sized photos to be used on the Mac. Windows computers have a version of iCloud Photo Library which will download the pictures, but there is no Windows version of the Photos app, so there is no synchronizing.
    Google Photos only sees computers as a source of photos, computers are not sync’ed devices. You can upload photos from a Computer to the Google Photos library in the Cloud, but the connection ends there. Deleting from the library or from the computer will not delete from the other. Editing a photo on either side will not update to the other. You can also download photos from your online library to your computer. If you use Picasa on your computer, you can download Albums from Google Photos, you can also use Picasa’s Sync tool to keep them synchronized.

Moving to Google Photos

If you agree with me that Google is the better option, the next question is: How do I get my pictures from Apple’s iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos? You can Install the Google Photos App on your iPhone or iPad and turn on Backup and Sync. Assuming you have iCloud Photo Library turned on, this will upload your complete iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos. It starts with your earliest photos and works its way to the present. In my test it was able to upload 400-500 photos per hour. Of course, your mileage may vary especially depending on your Internet connection speed!

I question, however, if using your mobile device is the best way. If you have your iCloud Photo Library set to “Optimize iPhone Storage” then you might be letting Google Photos upload reduced size photo files. And Google Photos is adding its own compression as well. When I experimented with this procedure, the photos did not seem to be extra small. They looked fine. Some were 600K, but some were 2MB. I have no way to definitively know what is happening here. But, if you can, it would be better to upload from a Mac’s Photo Library where the iCloud setting is for Original size rather than optimized.

If you are a Geeks On Tour member, we have a full series of tutorial videos on Google Photos. Here are the videos for just getting started. Notice that there are a few labeled *Free, meaning you don’t need a membership to watch them.

Apr 282016
 

(May 3 note : the May 1 date has come and gone and Picasa Web Albums is still accessible. That doesn’t mean they’ve changed their minds – it’s just taking a bit longer than expected. Also, please realize this article is about the website Picasa Web Albums – the desktop software – Picasa – was retired on March 15. See this article for more info.)

Picasa Web Albums has been around since 2006 – that’s 10 years! An eternity in computer time. Those of us who have been using it all these years hate to see it go. It has a unique set of features. But know that all your pictures are still there.

There is nothing you need to do, your pictures can be seen at photos.google.com

imageIf you just visit Photos.Google.com and log in with the same Google account you used for Picasa Web Albums, you will see all your pictures, but they will be in one big stream by date with the most recent on top. Just click on the button for Albums to see the same albums that you saw in Picasa Web Albums.

Although it may be unfamiliar at first, once you embrace Google Photos, I think you will love the new things you can do with your pictures.

Once you’re seeing the albums, you can scroll thru them, they’re in date order, or you can use the search box to look for them. Sorting by Album name is one of those features of Picasa Web Albums that have not yet made it to Google Photos.

My Public Web Albums as seen in Picasa Web Albums

image

In Picasa Web Albums the building block of the system is the album. The albums contain photos. Every photo is in an album. You could not upload a photo unless you knew what album you wanted it to go to.

My Albums seen on Photos.Google.com/Albums

Google Photos has a different philosophy. The basic building block is the individual photo. Photos can be grouped into Albums, but the albums themselves are not really objects. They have no properties of their own.

image

What is going away?

Picasa Web Albums had several features that have not made it to Google Photos. Note: this is my personal observation, not an official list. Please correct me if you see any errors or omissions in this list.

  1. Sorting albums by Album date, Upload date, or Album Title. Google Photos only sorts albums by date of most recent photo in the album.
  2. Album Properties: Album Date, Album Description, Album Location, Visibility: Public, Link, Only You. None of these properties exist for albums in Google Photos.
  3. Displaying a map with all geotagged pictures placed on map with the ability to alter the location.
  4. Captions: Displaying captions below thumbnails of photos, Caption screen where you can edit any/all photo captions from an album
  5. Slideshow – the ability to play a self–running slideshow complete with optional captions, as well as the ability to embed a slideshow on a web page. Google Photos can’t do either. **except on Android, you can play a self running slideshow with GP.
  6. Prints – the ability to directly order prints (cards, books, gifts) from selected providers such as Shutterfly, Walgreens, and more.
  7. Face Tags – the ability to manually identify people in your pictures. Although Google Photos automatically groups like faces, there is no provision for you to manually tag them if it misses one.
  8. Comments and Tags – the ability for people to follow your public albums and leave comments on pictures. Comments and Tags are not available in Google Photos.

What about my Links?

If you see a colorful photo above, that means that old Picasa Web Album photo URLs are still working!

If you see a colorful photo above, that means that old Picasa Web Album photo URLs are still working!

Since Picasa Web Albums have been around since 2006, there are many instances where I have posted links to those albums. I have been assured by my contacts at Google that these links will be OK. YAY!

Links to publicly available albums in Picasa Web Albums will continue to work.

To test it, here is a link to all my Public Picasa Web Albums. Here is a link to my 2015 December Cuba Trip album. And here is a link to a single photo of Jim and me. And the colorful photo at right is embedded with the URL from Picasa Web Albums.

Original Announcement

It was on February 12 that the announcement was made that Picasa Desktop Software would be retired on March 15, and Picasa Web Albums on May 1.   Read the complete announcement here.

Bottom Line: There is nothing for you to do except to be aware that this is happening. All your pictures and albums are available now in Google Photos. Any missing features we can hope that Google will be adding them to Google Photos over time.  Any missing data, such as comments and tags, will be made available in a new location yet to be announced. (https://get.google.com/albumarchive/) This will be an archive of Picasa Web Albums.

To add your request for favorite features, use the Google Photos menu and click on Help and Feedback. Although you won’t get any response, the folks at Google do read these feedbacks.

Mar 112016
 

 

You can change the date of a photo using Google Photos Web version
We recently presented a Google Photos seminar to a Genealogy group. We used our smartphone and snapped pictures of old photos in a photo album. These were pictures of my Great Grandfather, Charles Noyes, and my Great Grandmother, Mae Manning Noyes. Charles was born in 1869 and Mae was born in 1872, yet when I snap a copy of their photo – the resulting picture will be dated in 2016!

Photos are Automatically Sorted by Date

In Google Photos, your library of pictures is kept in order by date – period. You can make albums to group selected pictures any way you want, but the library of all your photos is viewed in a dated stream with the most recent on top. It is wonderful to view the pictures of my life in order like that, and with just a little bit of work, the photos of my Great Grandparents can also be put in order where they belong – in the 1800s.

Use a Computer to Change the Date

Google Photos can be used on an Android device or an Apple iOS device, but for this particular feature, you need a computer.

  1. On any computer, open a web browser (preferably Chrome) and go to Photos.Google.com. Be sure you’re logged in with your account
  2. Find the photo that needs a date change and click it
  3. Click the i button in the upper right. That stands for Info and it will open a right sidebar
  4. Hover over the date and a pencil will appear – click on the pencil and you can edit the date
  5. Enter the desired date, then click Save.
  6. Added Aug 2016: you can now select multiple photos then change the date for all, just click the 3-dot menu – Edit Date and Time

You picture will be instantly relocated, in the stream of all your photos, to it’s proper date ordered position.

This article is by Chris Guld, of GeeksOnTour.com. To learn more, see the Google Photos Tutorial Video page, and consider becoming a member in order to view all the tutorial videos.

Note: Thanks to Connie Bradish for the research to tell me when my Great Grandparents were born! You may get me into genealogy yet!