May 262014
 

If you upload 2 or more pictures of the same group of people to Google+, the Auto-Awesome feature will create a composite picture with the best smiles.  Here are two pictures I took of our friends David and Lynn when they visited us in our motorhome:

Original Photo #1
2014-05-10 20.05.33
Original Photo #2
2014-05-10 20.05.36

Google+ Photos Creates a New Picture with the Best Smiles

You don’t have to do a thing other than upload the original pictures to your Google+ account and, if you have Auto Backup turned on, you don’t even need to do that.  The next time you view your photos on Google+, be sure to check the Auto-Awesome group and you may get a pleasant surprise!

Auto Awesome Smile! Picture Created by Google+ Photos:

smile

Step-by-Step Instructions

In case you’ve never used Google+ photos, or never seen the Auto Awesome pictures it creates, here’s the details:

  1. You must have a Google account that has joined Google+.  If your Google account is less than a year old, it was automatically part of Google+.  If you’ve had your account longer than that, you have probably seen many messages giving you the opportunity to join Google+.  In order to take advantage of the many features of Google+ photos, you do need to join Google+.
  2. Using Picasa on your computer, select the pictures you want to upload and click the “Share on Google+” button.  It doesn’t matter what album you upload them to, all photos in your Google+ photo library (public or private) are candidates for Auto Awesome.
  3. Visit your Google+ photo albums at www.plus.google.com, click on Home, then photos
    g
  4. While viewing your photo albums, click More then Auto-Awesome
    autoawesome
  5. You should now be seeing all the Auto-Awesome pictures that have been created from your pictures.  You can tell what type of Auto Awesome was used by reading the starred words in the upper right corner.  These pictures are private, only you can see them unless you Share or Add to Album (under More menu) that is already shared.
  6. To read more about Auto Awesome see Google’s Help Page on Auto Awesome

 

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.

May 062014
 

blogthisThere are lots of posts on Picasa’s official support forum from people upset that the “Blog This!” feature of Picasa is no longer working.  That doesn’t bother me at all.  Even though I’ve kept a Blogger.com blog since 2003, and used Picasa for almost as long, I’ve never used the BlogThis! feature to get my pictures from Picasa to Blogger.

Here’s how I do it

  1. Upload from Picasa to a named Web Album in Google+ Photos (what used to be called Picasa Web Albums)
    picasa-sharealbum
  2. From Blogger, use the “Insert Image” button and choose “From Picasa Web Albums”  Find the ‘Devils Tower Album’ and select the pictures
    blog-album

 

Don’t Delete the Web Album

When you do it this way, you are very aware that your picture is coming from your web album.  So, maybe you won’t make the mistake of deleting that album from Google Plus.  Many people don’t realize that their Blogger pictures are actually stored in your Picasa Web Albums (now Google Plus Photo Albums.)  If you used the BlogThis! button (when it used to work) your pictures were stored in a Web Album named the same as your Blog.  If you delete (or even rename) that album from Google Plus Photo Albums, you have deleted the picture that was showing in your Blog. 

photo-missing

All your Best Pictures are in the Web Album

Sometimes I’m not interested in scrolling thru all the text on my Blog, I just want to look at all the pictures I took.  In our RVing lifestyle, we’re taking pictures all the time, so I upload the best ones into albums by month.  Sometimes a special event like ‘Cruise to Alaska’ deserves an album all its own, but normally I have an album for each month.  In a month where we traveled a lot, I might have 1-200 pictures, like last September when we started the month in Nevada and ended in Florida.  If you click the link you will see all my pictures for that month.  You can even click on one picture to see it full screen, then click on the option for Slide Show.  Some friends might not want to read all the text in your Blog, but they love browsing thru your pictures.

Only the Pictures Needed to Tell the Story go in the Blog

In that same month – September 2013, I wrote 6 blog posts and used 68 of the pictures from the Web Album.  So, I have my choice of just looking at pictures: 157 pictures in the September 2013 Web Album; OR reading the Blog posts that include 68 of those exact same pictures.

Tutorial Videos

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch tutorial videos on this topic:

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.

Mar 252014
 

You’re probably accustomed to seeing your picture folders in date order at the left navigation bar in Picasa, but did you know you can view the photos themselves on a timeline?  While in library view, use the View menu and select Timeline and you’ll see something like this:

timeline

In a very condensed format, you can see the complete range of dates for your pictures.  In my sample case the earliest date shows as November 1936.  These are scanned photos where I manually set the date!  And the latest date is March 2014.  Simply drag the slider and you can see thumbnails of pictures from folders in every date in between.  Then, you have choices of playing a slide show by double-clicking on a folder,  or going back to your library with the button, or by pressing Esc.  You will be dropped off in the library viewing pictures from the time that was last selected in the timeline.

Google+ Photos now has a Timeline

If you have been uploading your pictures to Picasa Web Albums, or Google+ Photos (it’s the same set of albums – just different interfaces) you now can find pictures by date there too.  To get to your photos in Google+, browse to https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos and login.  This only works in “Highlight” view. At the right side of your screen, you should see an icon of the current month .  Just hover your mouse over that and it will open up a complete calendar of Years and Months for all the photos you have ever uploaded.  Click on any year/month combination and you will be taken to the highlight of photos from that month.

g photos-calendar

 

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.

Nov 302013
 

Picasa's Email button

I’ve heard of people going to great lengths to prepare and email a picture.  First they (1) edit it and save the changes, then they (2)export it to get a smaller size, then they (3) open their email program and use the attach feature, having to (4) hunt thru their folders to find the exported picture(s) to attach.  Finally, they write their email, address it and send it.

NO, NO, NO

Picasa has an Email Button!

One click of the email button takes care of all 4 steps mentioned above.  Take a look down at the bottom of PIcasa’s screen and you’ll see the Email button.  All you have to do is select the picture(s) you want to email, click the email button, then compose your email and send it.  In the image above, you should see 4 pictures in the selection tray.  When you click the Email button all 4 images will be sent in their edited form and resized according to your settings.  What settings?  The ones you’ll find at Tools->Options->Email (Windows) and Picasa->Preferences->Email (Mac.)

Picasa Email preferences

 

Picasa is not an Email Program

When you use Picasa’s email button, it opens the email program you specify.  Either the default email program that is installed on your computer, or Gmail.  We recommend Gmail, since both Picasa and Gmail are Google products, they work together very well.  If you prefer not to use an @gmail.com address, you can set Gmail to ‘Send mail as’ another address.  If you want to use your computer’s email program and it’s not coming up automatically, here’s the Official Picasa Help on setting up your default email program.

Don’t Email … Share

Last, but not least, we recommend that you not email pictures at all!  If you send me 20 pictures of your latest vacation via email, what am I supposed to do with them?  I’d rather you sent me a link to where I can view them online any time I want without them filling up my Inbox.  So, use the Share button to upload to Picasa Web Albums or Google+, or Export to your Dropbox/Photos if you have a Dropbox account.

For our Geeks on Tour members, we have some videos you should watch:

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 using your smartphone, 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.

Sep 152013
 

If you click on the button in Picasa to ‘Edit in Creative Kit’, today this is what you’ll see:

creative-kit

What was Creative Kit?

If you don’t know what Creative Kit was, here are some articles I wrote about the useful tools in Creative Kit that do not exist in Picasa3 proper.  Now they don’t exist for Picasa/Google+ users at all!

What is the Replacement?

If you have joined Google+, there is a new Edit button when you’re looking at a single photo.  When you click it you get several photo improvement tools.  Other than the ‘Selective Adjust’ which allows you to change exposure for selected areas of the picture, I don’t see anything that you can’t otherwise accomplish using Picasa3 on your computer.  And, you must be using the Chrome browser for this new edit tool to work.

google edit

Are there other Options?

The Creative Kit button began as a plugin to the Picnik photo editing website that Google bought a few years ago.  Some of the Picnik folks have gone on to create the websites PicMonkey.com, and Ribbet.com.  Check ‘em out!  The Ribbet.com website looks a lot like the old Picnik / Creative Kit with effects, stickers, text, and many more features.  The basic tools are free, then there is a Premium version for more.  The Premium version currently is free for a limited time.  Ribbet can connect directly to your Picasa Web Albums / Google+ Photos, so it is almost like having the Creative Kit back – only better!  The only drawback is that it’s not accessible with a button from within Picasa3 on your computer – like the old Creative Kit was.

Picmonkey.com has it’s own look and feel, but seems to include all the features you could possibly want for editing, enhancing, and embellishing your pictures.  I also notice that it is integrated with Dropbox!  Hmm, could this be a complete alternative to Picasa Web Albums / Google+ Photos.  I know a lot of people who would love to have all the capabilities of online photo storage and editing without the need to be a part of Google+!  If that is you, then PicMonkey and Dropbox are worth investigating.

Why did Google Make this Change?

We REALLY don’t know!  The new Editing button is completely different … not an upgrade of what was there.  The Google/Picasa folks don’t maintain any communication with us like they used to back in 2009 when they had us do a joint webinar with them.  I think the team is all new people, and we don’t have a clue what their plans are.  It’s been clear for quite a while that Google’s priority is bringing everything together under the umbrella of Google+.  In fact, Creative Kit was getting so good, I was almost ready to say they planned to do away with the Picasa3-on-your-computer program and insist that you do all your editing online.  But, the new online Editing doesn’t have anywhere near the features that Picasa3 has!  We’re at a loss.

All comments are welcome!

p.s. Thanks to Ribbet’s facebook page, I did find a little more information on this article: Google’s Bet On Native Client Brings Chrome And Google+ Photos Closer Together.  So now I understand that the change is because of a technology choice – my hope is that they will start enhancing these tools and add things like text and stickers and facepaint back in.

Aug 082013
 

Change is hard. Those of us who have been using Picasa Web Albums for years, to share our pictures on the web, didn’t like that Google is changing to Google+ Photos and leaving Picasa Web Albums (PWA) behind.  At first, the Google+ picture display fanned out your pictures in each album like cards fanned out in your hand.  I found that to be annoying.  They don’t do that anymore. There were several features in Picasa Web Albums  that were initially missing from Google+, like slideshows, and downloading albums.  Google+ is catching up, those 2 missing features are there now.  For the few features that are still missing, it’s easy to go to Picasa Web Albums and use them there.  What I really love about Google+ Photos now is the way it displays my pictures. It fills the screen with just my photos.  And it automatically enhances them.  Once in a while, I go to Picasa Web Albums and the display makes my pictures look old and plain by comparison.    Here’s a sample of the pictures from my most recent album – shown with Google+ Photos.

google photos

Reasons to Join Google Plus for your Photos

I’m not saying that the confusion is gone.  There’s still a lot to learn when it comes to sharing with Google+, but you can still just share with a link like we’ve always done with PWA.  See this past article on What Happened to Picasa Web Albums.  But, if you tried it before and didn’t like how it handled your pictures, it’s time to give it a second chance. Whenever you log in to your Google account, you probably see this screen (below) where you can join Google+.  Just make sure your name is correct, add your gender, and birthday and you now have Google+ as part of your Google account.  If you should decide you don’t like it, you can always remove the Google+ info from your profile – just make sure you don’t remove your whole account. 

google join

That’s it.  Now, when you upload from Picasa on your computer – you will see them online using Google+.  Here’s Google’s official page explaining Picasa Web Albums and Google+.  Here are the reasons I like using Google+ Photos:

  1. Unlimited free online photo storage if you agree to limit your uploaded photos to 2048 pixels.  That’s plenty big enough for sharing online, or even printing, and the resizing is handled automatically by Picasa on your computer.
  2. Automatic uploading of pictures from your phone or tablet and stored privately online for free.  Just install the Google+ app on your phone or tablet.
  3. Ability to share with ‘circles’ of friends, in addition to the existing public, or private sharing.  You can still share with link.
  4. Beautiful display of your pictures, including auto-enhancing (you can turn this off if you don’t like it – I love it.)
  5. Photo editing, organizing, displaying, and sharing procedures are getting better all the time since Google is putting their efforts into the Google+ product and not Picasa Web Albums
  6. Why not use Google+?  Picasa Web Albums is still there, just use the link: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1 and you’ll be seeing the same albums using the Picasa Web Albums interface.

Try Searching

You can do this with Picasa Web Albums as well, but it’s just nowhere near as obvious as in Google+ Photos.  In Picasa Web Albums, when you search for ‘beach’ the default is to search all the public photos anywhere on Picasa Web Albums.  In Google+ photos, the default is to search your own photo library.  It picks up the word ‘beach’ in captions, tags, or album titles, just like Picasa on your computer.  In the sample below, these beach pictures come from Oregon, Florida and Mexico – all from my Web Albums. 

google PhotoSearch

What about You?

Do you use Google+ Photos now?  Are you avoiding it? 

Apr 212013
 

slideshowI’ve written several articles in this PicasaTutorials website about the transition we are undergoing between Picasa Web Albums and Google Plus Photos.  Although Google + Photos has added many new features and is quite impressive these days, there is one feature it still lacks and that is the ability to embed a slideshow of your pictures into your blog post or website.

This previous post tells you how to use the Picasa Web Albums interface to embed a slideshow, but the problem is that when you try to go to www.PicasaWeb.Google.com (the address for your Picasa Web Albums,) you are automatically redirected to Google + Photos.  And, there is no command for embed slideshow anywhere to be found.

If you look carefully at your Google+ Photos screen, you will see a message to “Click here to go back to Picasa Web Albums.”  It does exactly what it says and deposits you at the Picasa Web Albums interface to all your pictures.  There you will find the ‘”Embed Slideshow” link as directed in this previous article.

If you don’t see that yellow box with the link, then try adding the no redirect option to your Picasa Web Album URL.  Just click here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1

web-albums-slideshow

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, using Android Smartphones, 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.

Aug 152012
 

2014 Update: You can also try the Picasa command on the File menu: Import from Google+ Photos

If you have been patiently waiting for the features in Google+ photos to catch up to what we’ve had all along in Picasa Web Albums, your patience was rewarded this week.  One by one, the features we’ve come to expect from PWA are being added to the Google+ interface, and the latest one is the ability to download albums.

downloadalbum

How to Download an Album from Google+ Photos

While you’re viewing an album in Google+ Photos, you should see a menu option in the upper right labeled ‘More.”  Just click on the drop-down arrow to reveal the list and you should see Download Album as an option.  Click that, select your download location and click save.  This will put all the album’s photos into a packaged ‘.zip’ file, so there’s one more step before you’ll see your downloaded photos in Picasa.  You need to UNzip that file (Windows: right-click and Extract all, Mac: open .zip with archive utility)  and put the resulting picture files into a folder in your My Pictures area – or any other folder that Picasa is watching.

If you don’t see the Download album Option

That means that the owner of the album has UNchecked their Google account setting to ‘Allow Viewers to Download Photos.’  This is an account-wide setting, it is not something that can be controlled for individual albums.  To find the setting, click on the Gear icon, click Settings, and scroll down to the Photos section.

Show Me How!

Here is a tutorial video showing you exactly how to download an album from Google Plus.  This is just one of many tutorial videos on Picasa available for Geeks on Tour members.  You can see the whole list here.

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.

May 312012
 

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
picasa-webalbums
(click for larger image)
Picasa 3.9 without joining Google+ –> ‘Upload to Web Album’3.9 web album
(click for larger image)

Picasa 3.9 with Google+ account –> Upload and Share on Google+googleplus-albums(click for larger image)

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:

  1. 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+.
  2. 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.
  3. 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+
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.) 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.’

Removing Google+

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:

  1. On any Google product page, click on the dropdown arrow next to your picture in the upper right corner and choose Account
  2. 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.’
  3. Choose ‘Delete Google+ Content’ and then click the button Remove selected services.
  4. 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.

Conclusion

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. 

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, using Android Smartphones, 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.