Chris Guld

Aug 312015
 

Business visionIn 2008, I decided to start writing a weekly Picasa Tip.  Picasa is free software by Google for managing all the pictures on your computer.  This site has been called “PicasaTutorials” and “PicasaGeeks.” In May of 2015 Google released the smartphone apps called Google Photos. I Love Google Photos! So I am now also writing about Google Photos and you can get to this site by typing in ILoveGooglePhotos.com! If you subscribe to our free email Tip of the Week, you get an email every time we post a new tip.  you’ve probably read a bunch of them!  But, what if you wanted to find a past tip?

Search the All Articles Page

My favorite way to find an article on this site is to visit the All Articles page.  There you’ll find a complete listing of all 250+ articles alphabetically by title.  You can scan thru the entire list, or, if you remember something about the title, you can use the browser Find function – Ctrl-F (Cmd-F on Mac) to open up a Find: box.  You’ll see a box open up in the upper right corner of your browser window.  Type what you’re looking for and it will search the text of the current page..  For example, if you type Tag into the find box, it instantly highlights in bright yellow all places on the page where tag is found:

Seaching full Text

If the term you’re searching does not appear in the title of an article, you can use the Search box at the top right of every page.  Type a word in there and it will search the text of every article.  Be aware that this is a literal search of each word.  So, if you enter How do I resize a picture into this box, it will return every page that has the word “How” in it, or do, or I etc.  – all 200 articles will be returned. And, if you put quotes around “How do I resize a Picture?”  You will get 0 results because no article has that exact phrase.

website-search

Using Google

Probably the best way to search is using Google because you can ask conversational questions like “How do I resize Pictures” … to limit the results to just pages in the PicasaGeeks.com website, add the option site:picasageeks.com like this:

How do I resize a picture site:picasageeks.com

Note: it is important that there be no space between site: and picasageeks.com.

Searching for Tutorial Videos on GeeksOnTour.com

All these same techniques work on our Tutorial Video site as well.  So, if you’re looking for a video on Picasa and resizing pictures, you could go to the Learning Library page for Picasa and use Ctrl-F (Cmd-F on Mac) and type resize.  Now scroll down the page and you will see the video(s) with ‘resize’ in the title.

Or use the Google search with the site option:  How Do I resize a picture site:geeksontour.com

This will give you results from the video library as well as the newsletter articles and the forum posts, and they all will be from the www.GeeksOnTour.com website.

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 smartphones and tablets, managing digital photos with Picasa or Google Photos, using 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.

Aug 082015
 

imageWe took a trip to England a couple of months ago and I took lots of pictures, some with my Canon digital SLR and others with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. The phone is always set to the right time, because it is location aware. It knew we were in a different time zone than what we left and it’s time was correct. The Canon on the other hand was still set to US Eastern time zone (5 hours earlier) and I didn’t think about that until nearly a week had passed. When I did think of it, (thank you Phil for reminding me!), I changed the time settings in my camera so it was correct.

When I look at my pictures, I want to see all of them – phone and camera pictures – in sequence. But, for those first few days, a picture taken during the afternoon with the camera would come before a picture taken at breakfast with the phone. See my problem? The camera photos were 5 hours earlier than the phone pictures taken at the same time. There are many places where you can sort pictures by date, so it would help if that ‘photo taken’ date was correct. Picasa can do that for you!

Picasa has a feature on the Tools menu called Adjust Date and Time. I use it all the time to change the date of scanned photos. I may snap a picture of an old family photo from the 1960s, but the picture will use the current date for it’s date taken because, well, that’s when I snapped the current picture! I can use Tools->Adjust Date and Time to set the date taken to something in the 1960s! See this past article on Scanning and Organizing Old Photos. We even use this technique for scanning slides.

Today I discovered that Picasa’s Adjust Date and Time feature can even compensate for my time zone faux pas.

  1. Select multiple pictures. I can even filter to just those pictures taken with the Canon by typing Canon in search, then select all pictures for the date range in question
  2. Tools->Adjust Date and Time and add 5 hours (or whatever you need) to the New photo date.
    Be sure to check “Adjust all photo dates by the amount” and click OK.
    image
    Notice that I am adjusting the time for 404 pictures!

Now, you may wonder if even the new time is correct because it seems to be saying that we’re out sightseeing at 5 o’clock in the morning! Well, I learned another thing here. Time is actually recorded relative to GMT time, so the time displayed always takes into account the time zone on the computer you are viewing with.

Identifying People in Group Photos

 Picasa, Special Features  Comments Off on Identifying People in Group Photos
Jul 172015
 

imageHave you ever taken a group photo and wanted to identify the people? If the group is small enough, you could use Picasa’s text tool and just write their name above or below their face. In a large group, and especially in a busy color photo, those names will be difficult to read.

Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Make a copy of the photo (File->Save a Copy) to be the legend. Convert it to a black and white drawing by using the pencil sketch feature on Picasa’s last tab of editing tools
    image You may need to adjust the sliders on the Pencil Sketch feature to get just the right effect.
  2. Use Picasa’s text tool to add the numbers right below each person’s face. Just click in each place you want to type to create separate texts for each person.
  3. Write their names in a document with a numbered list

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we have tutorial videos on how to use these features:

Jul 022015
 

Photos on your computer, or photos on your Cloud account? In my world, those two concepts are swapping places. I am transitioning from being computer-centric to being cloud-centric. There are 2 reasons for this transition. First, the sheer volume of pictures we take with our smartphones is overwhelming – we need an automatic way of dealing with them or they will simply get lost. There are not enough hours in the day to get those photos to the computer and organize them! Secondly, Google is redesigning their photo tools. They’re giving us free online storage for an unlimited number of pictures so let’s take advantage of it. Google sees the future more clearly than most of us, and the future of photo storage is all online.

Old Procedure – Computer is Most Important

I used to keep all my photos on my computer – I call that my Master Library. I captioned, edited and organized them, using Picasa, all on my computer. Then I uploaded only those best photos that I wanted to share with friends and family.

  1. My computer (and external hard drive) held thousands of photos – all my originals.
  2. My online (cloud) account held hundreds – just the best ones.

New Procedure – Computer is not necessary at all

Now I take most of my pictures with my phone and those pictures can automatically be uploaded (aka backed up) to my online account in the cloud. Using Google Photos, I can edit and organize them all in the cloud – no computer necessary at all! I can pick my best pictures and make online albums with just those pictures that I want to share. My private, cloud-based (online), account now holds the thousands of pictures I take and separate shared albums hold my best. If I want pictures on my computer, I can download just those best ones in the shared albums.

  1. My online (cloud) account holds thousands of photos – all my originals
  2. My computer holds hundreds – just the best ones

Pros and Cons of New Procedure

Change is hard. I’ve had a workflow procedure for the last 5 years that works great, I collected all pictures on my computer where I used Picasa to pick and edit the best ones and then upload. The only difficult part was getting the pictures from my phone to the computer and that was handled pretty nicely with Dropbox. The new procedure is easy. Photos automatically go to your account in the cloud, using Google’s high resolution setting you have unlimited storage space for free. All your photos – I call it my Master Library – are available for viewing from any device and Google gives you many wonderful ways to just see what you want. The problem is that there a few pieces missing. And, some of those pieces are very important to me.

Pros:

  • It’s automatic – no work involved to collect pictures from multiple mobile devices. They all go to your Google account, a private photo-warehouse in the cloud.
  • Google tools for viewing your photos are amazing. Search for anything you want to see and Google instantly finds them from your thousands of pictures.
  • Your pictures are instantly shareable because they’re already online.
  • Basic editing tools actually do a better job than Picasa, and there are even better tools in the companion Snapseed app.

Cons

  • Picasa capabilities missing in Google Photos: captions, watermark, visual indicator for best pictures, text on picture. Captions is the most critical to me.
  • Offline backup is still manual
  • Pictures from digital cameras (not phones) are not included in process
  • Snapseed not available from computer/web interface, when used on phones it creates a separate copy of the edited photo – not included in the process

Changing my workflow is a work in process while I get used to Google Photos. The new features of Google Photos are just SO good, I must use it, so I need to find work-arounds for the things I am missing. Please use the comments below to let me know what you think.

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.

Where are your Web Albums in Google+?

 Google+  Comments Off on Where are your Web Albums in Google+?
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:

imageimage

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.

image

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.

Apr 252015
 

tagsTags are the keywords that you can attach to pictures. They are not meant to be visible. They are meant to give you multiple ways to find and group pictures. In our 11 years of RV Travel in the United States, we have been in Texas several times. I store my pictures by month, so I have Texas pictures from April, 2015, we’re in Texas right now Smile, and I also have Texas pictures from March, 2006 and November, 2005 and March 2008, etc. etc. I try to add a tag for Texas to all the best pictures that I took while in Texas. To add a tag, you just select the picture(s) and then click the Tag button, type the tag and click the green +.  That way, any time I want, I can view all our pictures from Texas, regardless of their folder location on my computer.

If you Want the Tags to be Visible

1. If you just want to see what tags have been applied to any given picture, the easiest way is to set your thumbnail caption to show tags.

  • View->Thumbnail Caption->Tags

2. If you want to see what tags have been applied to a group of pictures

  • Select the Group (by clicking on a folder or an album)
  • Open the Tag Panel by clicking on the Tag button
  • You will now see the list of all tags used in the selected pictures

3. If you want to see your complete list of all tags you’ve ever used – you’re out of luck. Picasa doesn’t have a way to manage the list of tags. I wish they did! I do have a workaround though. You need to be able to select ALL your pictures so they are one group, then you can see the tags for the group like in #2 above.

  • Search for .jpg – this should give you a group of ALL your pictures (unless you shoot in RAW)
  • Click on Search Results in the top left, this should select ALL your pictures. For example, my selection tray now says “Album Selected – 55,550 photos”
  • Open the Tag Panel by clicking on the Tag button and you should now be seeing all tags applied. Unfortunately, you’ll notice that they are not sorted Alphabetically, they are sorted by popularity.

My favorite use of Tags is to create Albums.  See this past article: Picasa Tags can Make Albums

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can also watch these Tutorial Videos:

Apr 172015
 

We have been getting lots of message like the one below lately:

I have tried to download PICASA and each time I get a message that it is not a safe site. Please advise.

Is Picasa Safe? YES, IF you get it from the official source.

Picasa is software for your computer made by Google. I have been using it for over 10 years. It is absolutely safe. The problem arises when people go to the wrong source and don’t read the fine print.  If you simply use Google, or Bing to Search for Picasa, you will get a listing something like this:

image

Problem with Unofficial Sites

Downloading from the ‘wrong’ sites listed above may be fine, but you have to read the fine print to be sure you’re not getting unwanted software tagging along. On one of them I see the following warning:

By clicking the button above you will get the software through a 3rd party ad supported download manager. We are not associated with Google. … Optional Software Included.  The download manager may present users with various software offers like the toolbar below, but none are required to be accepted in order to download the chosen software. …

Get Picasa from the Official Google Site

What you need to do is type Picasa.google.com into the address bar of your browser. Just typing Picasa.com will also work, you should notice that your browser automatically changes it to http://picasa.google.com

picasa-download

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: