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 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. 

2015-05-30 20.25.12

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

personal kayaks, to boat docks and more.

image

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.

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
image
The Logo for Google+ Photos
image
Old icon
image
New icon
image

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.

g photos

Google+ on Phone

g photos-phone

 

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.

g photo-albums

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.

g photos-computer

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

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.

Feb 212014
 

This is an excerpt from our Picasa Beginner’s Guide – see right sidebar for details.

Google+ Auto-Backup: When you installed Picasa you were probably given the option to turn on Google+ Auto-Backup. If you did that then every picture on your computer is being backed up to your Google+ Photos account in a folder called Auto Backup. If you don’t want this, you should uninstall the Google+ Auto Backup program. If you keep it there are settings you must check.  When you launch Google+ Auto Backup click the button to Get Started.

image

To see your backed up photos, go to www.plus.google.com and log in to your account. From the left side dropdown menu under ‘Home’, choose ‘Photos.’ Under the ‘More’ menu option, choose Auto Backup.

Dec 172013
 

We’re really excited about using Google Hangouts On Air to deliver live webinars thru Youtube.  Our next webinar is:

  • Topic: Making Photo Collages with Picasa
  • When: Thursday, December 19, 2pm EST (Miami time)
  • How Long: 30 – 45 minutes
  • How to Register: Enter your name and email on this registration page.
  • How to View: After you register you will receive reminders with a link to go to when it’s time to view the live webinar.  You will be directed to a simple web page, nothing to download, no special equipment or software needed.  If you can watch and hear Youtube videos, you can watch and hear this webinar.
  • What if you miss it?  The live hangout is free to the public.  It will be recorded and the recording will be available below.

We use Picasa Collages nearly every day.  It’s so easy, yet so powerful!  Whenever you have more than one picture you’d like to print or share, you could consider putting them together into one collage.  The basics are quite simple, just select all the pictures you want to use, then click the Create menu and Picture Collage… command.  If you have the Collage button at the bottom of your screen, that is the same thing.  Now you have lots of options.  Most people don’t experiment beyond the “Picture Pile” default, but Mosaic, Frame Mosaic, and even Multiple Exposure give you many interesting styles to explore.  Add to that the ability to use borders, colors, backgrounds, page formats, captions, and you start to see the power available.  You can see more examples of collages we’ve made.

Collages13

 

In fact, the informational image above was created using the Collage feature.  It’s a collage of collages if you will!  We’ve already made several videos on how to use the Collage feature. You need to be a Geeks on Tour member to view the Shortcourse on Collages and Banners.  If you are a member but don’t know your username, please contact us.  If you’re not a member, you can join now!

We also have several free articles on collages on our PicasaGeeks.com website.

We hope you can join us for our free, live webinar on Thursday, but in any case … Make Some Collages!

Webinar on Holiday Cards with Picasa and Send Out Cards

 Sharing Photos  Comments Off on Webinar on Holiday Cards with Picasa and Send Out Cards
Dec 132013
 

Do you wish you knew how to take some of those great pictures you have and make Holiday cards with them?  You can do that with Picasa and the File->Order Prints command.  And, if you want to have a service that will customize your beautiful cards with individual messages, AND mail them out for you – then you need to look into Send Out Cards.

Here at Geeks on Tour, we’ve been wanting to teach online in the Webinar format, but we’ve been waiting for the perfect tool (i.e. free!) to do it.  We think we’ve found that with Google+ Hangouts On Air.  We did a live webinar last week and now, we can share the recording with you.  It’s about an hour long.  If you just want to read a synopsis, we wrote up some quick notes in this forum post.

 

Our next live Webinar is on creating Picasa Collages.  You can register for the live event here.

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.