Jun 082015
 

Picasa isn’t going anywhere. Picasa is software on your computer for working with the photos on your computer. It’s freely available at picasa.google.com and, once you have it, it is yours to keep. Millions of people praise Picasa for being easy to use and allowing them to do things with their pictures that they never thought possible all with a click of a button or a drag of a slider. What makes us Picasa users nervous is the fact that Picasa has not changed in several years. Google owns Picasa and Google changes stuff constantly! So what’s the deal? They are clearly neglecting Picasa. Google is living in a world devoted to mobile devices and the Internet. Computer software like Picasa just isn’t sexy any more. Google Photos is sexy.

Google Photos is big news.

Google Photos for mobile devices and webGoogle Photos gives smartphone and tablet users a way to store all their pictures, in almost full-resolution 16 Megapixels, in their Google account online. Simply download the Android or Apple iOS Google Photos App and turn on the setting for Backup and Sync. From now on, every picture you take with that device will be uploaded to your Google Account. Then, you can view them online with any device or computer browser. You can edit them and share them also. So, Google Photos is online photo management for your mobile devices.

What about the pictures that are stored on your computer? Ones that were not taken with your smartphone or tablet? You can install the Auto Backup app for your Mac or Windows computer as well. Then, all the photos on your computer are uploaded to your Google Account as well. Now you have one place for all your photos, whether they were taken with a mobile device or a regular camera and stored on your computer, they are now ALL in the cloud – in your Google Account.

A while back Google bought a photo editing product called Snapseed (by Nik software) and it became a Google product. Snapseed technology is used to edit your picture online when you click the pencil icon. In the Android Google Photos App, you can tap the menu and “Edit in Snapseed.” They are using the Snapseed tools for online editing rather than Picasa because Picasa’s technology does not translate well to web-based tools.

Picasa is Still the Best Software for Working with Pictures on your Computer

Picasa is for working with pictures on your computerPicasa still does just exactly what it has always done. It is software on your computer (Windows or Mac) that works with the pictures that are on your computer. You can improve the pictures on your computer with various Picasa editing tools. No Internet needed. You can crop, color correct, add frames and add text. You can make collages. You can print. You can add captions and then use search to find pictures on your computer based on those captions. Picasa can help you organize your pictures into named folders, or dated folders. Picasa has tools to add tags to pictures and to view groups of pictures together in Albums.

Picasa works together with Google Photos – sort of

Picasa has always had a button to Upload pictures to online albums. It was first called simply, “Upload” and pictures were sent to Picasa Web Albums. Then Google upgraded Picasa to work with Google+ and the button changed to “Share on Google+.” That upgrade also gave us the option to upload at a size called “Best for Sharing” and get unlimited free online storage at that size. The “Best for Sharing” size was defined as 2048 pixels on the longest side. If you had a picture 2048X2048, that would be 4.2 Megapixels. Today, if you use the “Share on Google+” button, the pictures will be sent to your online Google account – the same place used by Google Photos! But, until Picasa is updated, the pictures will be limited to 4.2 Megapixels instead of the new 16 Megapixel size.

So far, Google has neglected to update Picasa to the new 16Megapixel size for uploads. They are allowing Picasa to become an orphan. I still expect the update to happen, but I don’t know when. Meanwhile, I’ll use Picasa to upload my pictures to my Google account in the 2048 pixel size. That’s plenty big enough for online viewing.

For the time being, I am perfectly happy with this photo workflow:

  1. Use the Google Photos App on my Android and Apple iOS mobile devices. I can edit right on my phone or tablet if needed. I can view my entire online library of photos as well as the photos on my device from the Google Photos App.
  2. I use Dropbox to transfer the full size picture from my phones and tablets to my computer. There, they are added to the original photos taken with my “good” DSLR camera as well. A complete library of my original-size photos on my computer.
  3. Google Photos Auto-Backup is installed on my computer and it automatically uploads ALL my pictures to my Google Account in 16 Megapixel “High Quality” size. A complete library of all my photos online, including all photos that were uploaded during 2006-2012 in the Picasa Web Album days, AND 2012 – 2015 in the Google+ Photos days. They are all available to me at photos.google.com
  4. I use Picasa to view, edit, caption, and tag photos on my computer, then I use the Picasa button called “Share on Google+” to upload my best photos to named albums in my Google Account. I can see these albums at photos.google.com –> Collections –>Albums. I can also see them using my Android or Apple devices and the Google Photos App.

I am still expecting the update to Picasa that adds “Upload to Google Photos at 16 Megapixels.”  But, if it never comes, I’m still good with using Picasa as is.

May 312015
 

Google Photo LogoA few days ago, Google announced the latest incarnation of their online photo storage and sharing service, now called simply, Google Photos.

Before I tell you the good and the bad of this announcement, let me give you a little bit of history. In 2006, Google offered an online photo storage and sharing service called Picasa Web Albums (PWA.) It worked in tandem with the Picasa software on computers and it was quite popular. In 2012 Google started the Google+ (Plus) social network and they totally reprogrammed the photo storage and sharing service to integrate it with the social network. They called it Google+ Photos. Picasa Web Albums continued to exist. If you used either of these services, your uploaded photos were stored in the same place, as part of your Google account. You could work with your photos using either Picasa Web Albums or Google+ Photos. These were simply 2 interfaces to the same set of online photos, but since Google+ photos was newer, it was the default. Unless you used a very specific address to get to PWA (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1) you would be taken to Google+ Photos every time.

The Good

Now, in 2015, we have a third interface. The Google Photos that was announced this week. Why? Because Google is trying to get it right … and, of course, to hold on to that huge market segment of people who care about their photos! Google learns and evolves. They learned that people didn’t like to be forced into the Google+ social network in order to use the photo storage and sharing service. They learned that we all have way too many photos to manage them ourselves. In response, Google Photos is uncoupled from Google+ and it offers free UNlimited storage for photos in original resolution up to 16 megapixels.

This was posted by the folks at Google about Google+ and Google Photos:

…it’s become clear that while social networks are great for sharing images and video clips, they’re not where most people want to store all their private, personal photos and videos.
That’s one reason why Google has been hard at work building an entirely new photos experience from the ground up. One that works for the photos you want to share, as well as the ones you don’t.

Google Photos is a standalone app for Android and for Apple iOS, as well as a website – photos.google.com. These are all available now, for free. Probably the coolest new feature is found by using the Search feature. Tap the search icon (magnifying glass) in the mobile Apps, or click in the search field on the web. Instantly, you will see your photos categorized by People, Places, Things, and Types. I was amazed to see my pictures grouped under Things: Sky, Mountains, Flowers, Cars, Sunset, Boats, Kayaks, Caves, Camping, Lighthouses, and on and on. If I click (this view is private) on the picture labeled “Boats” I see lots of boat pictures that have collected in my photo library over many years. 

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I click on boats, and I see … boats, from luxury yachts, to

personal kayaks, to boat docks and more.

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If you want to see your photos using Google Photos, there is no transfer necessary. It’s the same set of photos that you’ve been uploading all along. The ones uploaded to your Google account. Knowing your Google account is key. If you have more than one Google account, you need to pay attention to how you are logged in. If you want a master library of photos, you need to accumulate them under one account. Then you can see them using Google Photos, Google+ Photos, or even Picasa Web Albums. All three interfaces still exist so far.

The Bad

Lots of features are missing. Although it is easy to share pictures via email, facebook, and many other avenues, I see no way to simply make an album public. I am accustomed to giving a link to my photo library and anyone with that link can see all my albums that I have made public. So far, I have not found any command to do that in the new Google Photos. I also see no way, in the iPad app, or the website, to play a slide show of my pictures. The Android App plays a slideshow slick as can be, but you can’t see captions. The editing features that are built-in to Google Photos are very basic. For example, there is no way to add text to a picture, or to retouch a blemish. Picasa Web Albums is still the only interface of the three which offers to make an embeddable slideshow, it is also the only one that offers a way to get prints from your online photos, or view album photos on a map.

The Assistant is new and makes it drop-dead simple to create collages, animations, and stories – but if you don’t like what it creates you’re out of luck, no modifications allowed. And, it crashed on me a couple times trying to create Stories and Movies. I expect this will improve over time.

If you install either the Android or the Apple iOS App, pay close attention to the default setting to turn on “Backup and Sync.” This is ON by default. If you leave it that way, you will be transferring ALL photos from that device to the cloud. If those pictures are already there, you may end up with a lot of duplicates. If you pay for your Internet connection, it may get pricey!  Although the Apps give you an automatic way to upload every picture taken with your mobile devices to the online photo library, if you’re like me, you still want your master library on your computer and I see no way to do that easily. So I’m still going to use Dropbox to get the pictures from my mobile devices to my computer, then I’ll let Google’s AutoBackup take them from the computer to the online library.

The Unknown

What is going to happen to Picasa? They don’t say. I still think that Picasa is the best way to interface between your photo library on your computer, and the one online, so why would Google drop it? But, Google is living in the future, a future where there are no more computers, just mobile devices and online libraries. Even if they did discontinue it, the Picasa that you have on your computer will still keep working, but it will upload pictures at the old, lower resolution rather than the new higher resolution. I expect that they will keep Picasa around for a while to come. They do need to update it just to change that one button that now reads “Share on Google+.” It needs to read, “Upload to Google Photos” and it needs to upload at the higher resolution. When I see that update, I will be confident that Picasa will be around for quite a while.

Google Drive can also see the photos in your library. It is showing all recent pictures in folders by month. I like that, but I don’t understand why it is only showing recent photos and an occasional older photo. I had understood that Google Drive would be another interface to the complete library, but it is unknown how this is being implemented.

For lots more reading on the new Google Photos, try a Google search for #googlephotos. The video of the actual Google announcement is on this blog post by The Verge.

May 122015
 

I’ve been using Picasa and Picasa Web Albums for over 10 years. I generally create an album for every month. I’ve also digitized the printed photos from some early trips and created albums for them. Now all those albums are part of Google+ Photos, but where did they go?

When you first log in to your Google+ account, you see the Stream. The Stream is a social network kind of like Facebook. If you want to see your photos, you click on the menu and then Photos. The menu is accessed a little differently depending on whether you’re on your computer or a mobile App:

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I see Photos, but I still don’t see my Albums!

Once you’re looking at your Google+ Photos, you now have another menu – the Photos menu. At first, Google Photos shows you either “All” photos or “Highlights.” To see your Albums, use the menu then choose Albums.

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As soon as I click on Albums, I will see all of my uploaded albums – even the ones from many years ago, long before Google+. Just keep scrolling down and you’ll see all of yours too. The most recent ones should be at the top and the older ones are there as you scroll down.

If you’re confused about the designations of “All Photos” and “Albums” we recommend you watch just 4 minutes of our What Does This Button Do? Show #19, start at position 5:35 and watch for 4 minutes. OR, watch the whole show if you want to learn more.

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we have some prepared tutorial videos. Make sure to watch part 1 even if you don’t have an iPad, it starts out with the explanation of Albums vs All Photos.

Mar 252015
 

imageIf the gallery on your Samsung Galaxy phone or tablet looks something like the image at right – with all the Picasa logos – you need to read this article.  A question I hear all the time these days is “Why do I see so many Picasa pictures in my phone’s gallery, and how do I get rid of them?” If your phone (or tablet) is a Samsung, the answer is very simple. Just tap the 3-dot menu, choose “Content to Display” and Uncheck Picasa.

We’ve also demonstrated this in our Quick Tips segment of our Weekly Show. Here’s the tip on turning off Picasa in your Gallery.

Picasa isn’t Picasa – Confused yet? You should know that those pictures are still on the Web in your Google account. It is now called Google+ Photos. It is not really “Picasa” since Picasa is software on your computer for managing pictures on your computer.  But, because the Web  Album portion used to be called Picasa Web Albums and it is a very recognizable logo – that is the icon used to indicate that these pictures are online. So, once you eliminate them from your Gallery, you can still see these pictures by using the Google+ App on your phone or tablet. We dedicated an hour-long  “What Does this Button Do?” show on Youtube to learning about Google+ Photos. Episode 19: Google+ Photos for Android and iPad.

If you are a Geeks On Tour Member, you also have a couple of shorter videos which cover the material:

Jan 032015
 

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If you are using Google+ Auto-Backup you may have noticed thousands of pictures in a place Google calls “All Photos.” I think the term “Auto-Backup” is misleading because this is not a true Backup that you can use to Restore to your computer should disaster strikes, it is simply a single-file collection of ALL your photos.

When you first visit your photos in Google+ you will be seeing something called “Highlights.” This is Google’s selection of what it thinks is the most important content from all your photos. It seems to me that they pick about 30% of my photos for this view.

In case you have never visited your photos on Google+, the web address is plus.google.com. If you are logged in, you will see a Home menu at the left with a drop-down arrow, click there to see the option for photos. Now you should be looking at something similar to the screenshot above, and you have 3 primary choices on how to view your pictures: 1: the Highlights that Google selects, 2: All photos, or 3: Albums – under the More menu. Albums are those groups of photos that you have intentionally created. All Photos is exactly that … ALL photos. All photos has no organization other than date.

Do not try to organize the All photos, and do not try to clean them up. They are visible to only you, and you cannot change that. The only way someone else could see the pictures in the All photos collection would be to log in with your username and password. If disaster should befall your computer, you cannot use this All photos collection to restore your pictures in their original folders. Why? Because there are no folders in All photos. I use All photos for two things: 1: just to browse around by date, sometimes I see a picture I’d forgotten and I really like it – I might copy it out to an Album and 2: to recover individual photos that I have lost or accidentally deleted.

If you’re still confused as to the relationship between All photos and Albums, watch this short video.

This was part of an hour-long “What Does This Button Do?” live show. You can watch the recording on Youtube at: What Does This Button Do? Episode 19: Google+ Photos

For Geeks on Tour members, you may want to watch these as well:

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 Google Maps, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Nov 072014
 

imageMany of us are using smartphones and tablets as our primary cameras these days. And, many of you may not even have a computer – finding that the smartphones and tablets meet all your computing needs. But what to do with all those pictures? I know that a lot of you just keep taking pictures until one day, your phone displays a message that it is full and it can’t take any more. Now what?

Even if you do have a computer, you may find that storing your pictures in the cloud is more convenient. If you don’t have a computer, it’s the only way to get them off your phone and into more permanent storage.

Don’t get me wrong. I do have a computer, and I love Picasa – the computer software. I will keep importing the pictures from my phone and tablet to my computer, and using Picasa for organizing, editing, and uploading/sharing them. I just want to recognize that there is another way to do things now, and one future day, it may be the only way.

1. Upload Pictures from devices to the Cloud

The easiest way to do this with Google+ is to install the Google+ App on your phone or tablet, then turn on the option called “Auto Backup.” I wish they had named it “Auto-Upload” instead of Auto Backup because something called “Backup” implies that there is a way to “Restore” your system to how it was when you backed it up. That is not what this does. What Auto Backup does is to notice every photo taken by the camera app on your device (smartphone or tablet, Android or Apple) and automatically upload it to your account in Google+.

After installing the app, find the Settings option and turn Auto Backup on. Then there are options for the size of the uploaded photos and the connection used to upload them.

  1. Size for uploading: choose between
    -Full Size: uploads the fullsize original picture. Use this if you need the original resolution but realize that it will be using up your storage allotment in Google+
    -Standard Size: downsizes your photos to no more than 2048 pixels. This is plenty big enough for any viewing on a computer and it enables the unlimited free storage option for Google+
  2. Connection used for Uploading
    -Over Wi-Fi or mobile network: this will use your data plan (mobile network such as Verizon or AT&T) If you have a limited plan, you could incur substantial charges
    -Over Wi-Fi only: this will only upload your pictures when your device is connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot. We assume that the Wi-Fi is free
  3. Delete the photos from your phone or tablet. This is a decision for you to make, but realize if you never delete pictures that you take with your phone or tablet, it will fill up.

2. View the Cloud Pictures from your device

The Google+ App on your phone or tablet will allow you to view all the photos that were uploaded to your account. You can also select pictures to be organized into Albums, so you can then browse pictures by album. As long as you have a data connection on your phone or tablet, you can view all your photos online – no need to have them on your phone.

 

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Every week Geeks on Tour presents a free web-show where we explore features and uses of smartphones and Tablets. Episode #19 will focus on your pictures in the cloud. It will air live this Sunday, November 9 at 2pm Eastern time. If you watch it live, you will be able to leave comments that we will answer on air. If you don’t watch it live, it is recorded as a Youtube video and will be available below. To get the links for watching live or later,  see our Geeks on Tour Weekly Show page.

Sep 112014
 

Just how many copies of pictures is enough? If you take pictures with your phone, it is very easy to have them automatically uploaded to a cloud-based storage service. In fact, it is so easy that you may have several auto-upload services in place without even knowing it! Here are just a few (not even counting the backup service from your cell company):

  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • iCloud
  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • Flickr

Let’s say you have 3 of the above Apps installed on your iPhone or Android device – Dropbox, Facebook, and Google+. If you turned on the auto-backup feature (either intentionally, or unintentionally) every picture you take is being uploaded to the web 3 times! You could see your photos by visiting your Dropbox account, or Facebook, or Google+ Photos. I make sure to have the auto backup feature turned OFF on all but my Dropbox App. The reason I like Dropbox best is that, after the picture is uploaded to my Dropbox web account, it can also be downloaded to my computer (or any other device) if I have Dropbox installed on that computer or device.

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I keep the Google+ and Facebook automatic upload features turned OFF, there is no reason to upload my phone’s pictures three times! I do like the Google+ Auto Backup feature to be working on my computer. This way ALL of my pictures are being backed up to my Google+ Photos, not just the ones taken with my phone.

  1. I take pictures with my phone
  2. Dropbox takes care of getting those pictures to my computer
  3. I also take pictures with my camera
  4. I import those pictures to my Computer
  5. Google+ Auto Backup takes care of uploading ALL the pictures on my computer to my Google+ Photos account.

Using this method, ALL of my pictures are available to me on my Google+ account. I can now use my phone to access them and show you any picture of mine – even pictures taken with my other cameras.

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Aug 082014
 

Computer Clubs are great ways to learn! We wanted to share with you how Google+ Hangouts on Air allows us to present a seminar remotely and then automatically have it recorded as a Youtube video.

As we travel the country in our RV, we often pass thru the corner of Iowa/Illinois referred to as the Quad Cities and we’ll give a live presentation to the Quad Cities Computer Society. We were there in June and presented a seminar we call “What is Cloud Computing” to the general meeting of the whole club. The people involved in the digital photography  SIG (special interest group) then wanted to know – “How do we use the Cloud for our photos with Picasa?” So we agreed to give a follow up seminar to their next monthly meeting where we would answer questions. The problem is that we would be a couple thousand miles away by then! So, we used Google+ Hangouts on Air to do the presentation. Since it is recorded, we can also share it with you! If you are interested in a Geeks on Tour presentation to your club, use the Contact Us form.

To watch the entire presentation will take you about an hour. I have gone thru it and marked the places where certain topics start so you can click on those links and get straight to the point.

  1. Watch the seminar starting at the beginning (well, actually, this starts after the few minutes of technical difficulties with sound.)
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  2. Start at 7m22s:  Using Dropbox Camera Uploads
  3. Start at 15m37s: Autobackup Discussion
  4. Start at 29m38s: Question about Ordering Prints
  5. Start at 38m29s: Question about Making Movies with PIctures and Music
  6. Start at 43m16s: Question about Resizing Pictures
  7. Start at 56m23s: Demo of Picasa Web Albums vs. Google+ Photos

 

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, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Viewing Pictures on a Map

 Google+, Organizing, Picasa  Comments Off on Viewing Pictures on a Map
Jul 182014
 

We take hundreds of pictures every month and, since we live in an RV, we are constantly traveling. I might look at this picture and have no idea where we were when it was taken. If I’m lucky, the photo includes location information, then Picasa, or Google+ Photos can display the picture on a map:

I may not remember where this picture was taken just by looking at it.
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If the photo contains location information (GPS latitude/longitude) then Picasa can show me a map
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How does a Picture get Geotagged?

If your camera is equipped with a GPS, there is a setting that allows the camera to tag pictures with that location information. This is most common with smartphone cameras. For example, on my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, when I’m using the camera, I can tap the gear icon for Settings, find the Location setting and turn it on. If that setting is on, then you will be able to view the picture’s location on a map using Picasa, or Google+ Photos.  You need to check this setting often because when you turn off your phone’s GPS, this setting also turns off and you need to manually turn it back on. If your camera does not geotag for you, you can use Picasa to manually set the location information using the Places Pane. (Geeks on Tour members can view the tutorial video on Geotagging)

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2014-07-18_9-27-41When this picture is imported to your computer and you see it in Picasa’s library, you will notice a red location marker icon in the lower right image. When you see that icon showing on a picture’s thumbnail, it means you can click the same icon in the lower right of Picasa’s screen and the Places Pane will open at the right of your screen. The map that shows here is Google Maps and it comes from the Internet, so this will only work if your computer is online.

When you share your picture to Google+ online, you can click on the picture, click on ”Photo Details” at the right and see a map. If Location data is not stored with the picture, you will see a link to “Add a Location” then you can manually drop a pin on a map to indicate the location of the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picasa Web Albums Map View

Picasa Web Albums still has the best way of viewing pictures on a map. To get to your uploaded pictures and view them with the old Picasa Web Albums interface, use this link: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1 Now you’re viewing the same albums as with Google+ Photos, but with the older Picasa Web Albums tools. When you click on an album and look to the right, you should see a map image called “Photo Locations.” There is a link below the map to “View Map” which will show you a map with the pictures showing as little thumbnails right in place on the map.

I love it!

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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.

Jul 092014
 

imageIf you’ve been using Picasa Web Albums (PWA) for your online photo albums, you should install the Google+ App on your Apple or Android mobile device. Picasa Web Albums was made and owned by Google you see – they have now updated the technology and re-branded it as Google+ Photos, pronounced Google “Plus” Photos. By uploading your pictures to Google+ Photos OR Picasa Web Albums, and using the Google+ App on your phone or tablet, you will be able to view all the photos from your online albums using your mobile device.

People are always pulling out their smartphone to show friends pictures these days, but usually, those pictures are ones they took with that very same smartphone. Using the Google+ App, you’ll be able to show pictures taken with many different cameras if you’ve uploaded them to your Google account using Picasa.

The Logo for Picasa Web Albums
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The Logo for Google+ Photos
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Old icon
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New icon
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Any photos that you have uploaded to Picasa Web Albums OR Google+, are now viewable on Google+ Photos. To see your Google+ Photos albums on your smartphone or tablet, you need to install the Google+ App. There’s a lot more to Google+ than just photos, so you need to know how to navigate to your photo albums.

Google+ App

Photos is just a part of what the Google+ App offers. It includes a social network, and several communication tools (text messaging/phone calling/video teleconferencing), in addition to the photo library. When you first launch Google+ you will looking at the social network – kind of like Facebook. To see your photos, you need to use the menu. On smartphones and tablets, you should see 3 horizontal lines – they may be be very small – in the upper right corner. Click that to reveal the Google+ Menu. If you don’t see the 3 lines, see if your device has a menu button on the device itself.

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Google+ on Phone

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Once you are in the Google+ Photos, there is another menu to let you see All your pictures, Highlights of your pictures, Auto-Awesome pictures (that Google+ created from your pictures) or Albums. If you want to see the pictures you have uploaded, in the way you uploaded them, choose Albums.

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You will now see, on your mobile device, the same albums that you can see using your computer. On the computer,Albums are under the More menu. Then to see the pictures, click on an Album.

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Benefits of using Google+ Photos over other photo sharing services:

  1. Unlimited photo storage for FREE. All you need is to have a Google Account and to agree to upload photos at no more than 2048 pixels. This is the size that Google calls “Best for Sharing.” I have over 26,000 pictures online in my Google+ account, and I don’t pay a penny.
  2. Photos are beautifully displayed in a collage-like layout, or with full screen slideshows.
  3. Integrated with Picasa software on your computer, so uploading pictures to Google+ Photos is single-click easy.
  4. Using the Google+ Photos App, you have your pictures at your fingertips with whatever device is at hand.

I met some new friends in the RV park last week and they started talking about offbeat places they’ve traveled by RV. I was able to pull up pictures of my choice – a Stonehenge replica on the Columbia River in Washington state – and display them on the phone as I told them about this cool spot. Because I had the Google+ App on my phone, I could easily search my photos for ‘Stonehenge’ and find those pictures from August of 2010. If you’re a photo-holic like me, that’s just priceless!

App Name: Google+
Author: Google
Price: Free
Available for: iPhone/iPad, Android phone/tablets