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


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.


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.

  21 Responses to “Picasa Web Albums Retires on May 1–What to Do?”

  1. I agree to this, in some point in time, google photos didn’t have much functionalities unlike the picasa web albums but I believe nowadays, they have sorted it out.

  2. At this point I don’t think I will ever like Google Photos. I did everything I wanted with my pictures with the Picasa desktop application. After I was finished editing, captioning, etc, and selecting the best for albums, I would upload to enjoy with the Web Albums.

    There is nothing I like better about the display of my pictures with Google Photos, and many of the features I loved with Picasa are missing. Picasa may have come out 10 years ago, but a replacement should have been a similar product, not something with so little in common.

    I won’t be spending time trying to adjust to a new product, especially since Google has shown they will abandon it at anytime, wasting the hundreds of hours you have spent creating things. Flickr may be my future.

  3. Where can one email a comment to Google to express dissatisfaction/anger at the company’s withdrawal from Picasa. The program could have been improved or incorporated into Google Photos rather than simply being scuttled. May of its most useful features that we’ve come to depend on have simply been yanked away.

  4. I started trying out the google backup agent that runs and it will automatically upload from my directory (which is an external hard drive full of photos). With Picasa desktop the “sync to web” followed my naming conventions and my folders were all YYYYMMDD but it appears with google backup agent it has no ability to override and just puts them into a folder YYYY/YY/DD with slashes. Is there a way to override this so I can continue with the same format?

    • No, not really. There are no “folders” in Google Photos. Your pictures are stored in one bottomless stream, in order by date. When you used Picasa’s Sync to Web, it created “Albums” on Google Photos with the same album names, but the uploaded pictures are stored with all other pictures in the bottomless stream simply called “Photos”
      You can keep using Picasa’s Sync to Web and you will see your named Albums in Google Photos. Click on menu, Albums.

  5. One thing I really liked about Picasa has been that if I accidently downloaded a photo into documents, it found them and brought them into Picasa (jpg, tiff, etc.). Will Google Photos do the same?

    • No. I’m talking about Picasa Web Albums – it’s a website. You’re talking about Picasa3 Desktop Software. It was ‘retired’ on March 15, but since it’s software on your computer, you can continue to use it as long as you like.

  6. All my pictures are in folders and I use them by name! Can I continue to use Picasa?

    • You can absolutely continue to use Picasa – the software on your computer. This article is about Picasa Web Albums – it is a website that is closing down on May 1. It is replaced with Google Photos.

  7. I am sick!!! I have spent days getting images in order for opening a new website. I have my pictures in folders with the names of the items of the catagories I will put on my new pages…to think they will all be one big display of pictures, make the last week of work, all a loss..I don’t know where to go from here..

    • It sounds like you made folders on your computer. Nothing will change there. This is about pictures that are uploaded to the web.

  8. Thanks for the info, BUT..a silly question. Will we still upload photos to whatever name you call it, and can we edit photos, and email them? Thanks

    • Yes. If you use the Picasa software on your computer, you can still select a photo and click the Email button to email that photo. If you don’t use Picasa on your computer, or if you’ve used it to upload pictures to Google Photos, then there are two ways to email that online photo:
      1. with a phone or tablet – open the photo, click the share button and share to your email program
      2. with a computer – open the photo, click the share button and get a shareable link. Then go to your email and paste that link.

  9. Chris, and Jim, I have been using the upload link in web web albums in my blog for several years. It has spoiled me because I can adjust size. Is there a way to insert a link in my blog from Google Photos. If there is I haven’t found it yet. I also liked that people could click on the picture in my blog and go to that picture in web albums and then to all the pictures in the album. My web blog is http://www.kitandjerry.com. I have read and watched some of the things you have published on Google Photos but not all. If I have just been lazy let me know and I will read more. Love your website and all you two do for bloggers.

    Jerry Bertelsen
    Brackettville, TX

  10. I haven’t used Picasa in at least 11 years and many of my photos are no longer where I put them. I have no idea what my name and password were back then. How do I find them in Google or where do I find them????

    • You have to know your account username and password, then you can see if your photos are there. If you go to google.com you should see a Sign In button in the upper right. Click there, then, below the login form, click the link that reads, “Need Help?” There you can click the option for I don’t know my username.
      Hopefully you’ll be able to recover it.

  11. Thanks for the information. Strangely when I look at photos in the link you provided all photos are duplicated. Do you have any idea why that might be the case?

    I should add that we have a blog using blogspot. Could that somehow be the cause? We don’t upload the photos through picasa and blogger so they aren’t loaded twice.

  12. How do you transfer your face recognition from Picasa. I have thousands of people with their face tags? Thank you

    • Google Photos handles face recognition differently. I automatically recognizes faces and groups them together. When you find a group of pictures for someone you know, you can give them a name. If there is a face in the group that doesn’t belong, you can remove it. There is no way to manually tag a photo with a person’s name like there is in Picasa.

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