Several years ago, I wrote about how to use Picasa Web Albums to create a slideshow that can be embedded into a web page. The slideshow was really sweet, but it used Flash to make it work and Flash has fallen out of favor in the web world, and simply doesn’t work in many situations. Today, July 1, 2016, your Picasa Web Albums embedded slideshow will still work, but on August 1 it won’t.
Will turn into this:
If you’re not sure if you’ve ever used the Picasa Web Albums embedded slideshow feature, then you probably haven’t. It was a pretty special/hidden feature. You had to go to Picasa Web Albums on a web browser, not the Picasa software on your computer. You had to know about the hidden command in the right sidebar, under “Link to this album” and then “Embed Slideshow.” That would present you with some HTML code that you had to copy and paste into the HTML code on your website or blog.
On August 1, Your Slideshows will Disappear, What To Do?
The writing has been on the wall that this feature would disappear someday … that someday is here. If you have used this feature, it won’t work after August 1. Here is the official announcement. If you know where your embedded slideshows are, and you’re willing to put in the time, you might be happy with the Google Photos Animation feature to show those photos, or maybe the Google Photo movie feature.
Here’s a video I’ve made on how I’m using Google Photos Animations to replace the old Picasa Web Albums Embedded Slideshow feature.
If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you might also want to view videos on making Movies:
Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.
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.
To send a group of photos to a friend, follow these steps:
You can use a computer and Photos.Google.com, or a mobile device and the Google Photos App
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.
Click the share button and choose Get Link. A link has now been copied.
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.
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.
At the High Quality size, Google maintains your photos’ pixels up to 16 MegaPixels. That’s 4,000 X 4,000. That’s more than most digital cameras offer today. It’s big. So it sounds like it only reduces your photo if it’s more than 16 megapixels right? Well, not exactly. It does take your photo and compresses the file size while maintaining the same number of pixels. Your 12 megapixel photo will still be 12 megapixels, but where the .jpg file for the original photo may have been 3 MB (megabytes), the file that is uploaded is compressed to about half that.
If you take pictures for personal use, just select High Quality and don’t even think about it. It is truly high quality. That’s is big enough to completely fill your computer screen and be very sharp. I have printed 8X10 glossies of a picture using the original .jpg file and using the compressed ‘High Quality” file and I could not tell the difference.
If you are a professional photographer who may want your picture to grace the cover of a magazine, that’s another story. I’m sure you want your original. So keep the original somewhere, but you may still want to use Google Photos at the High Quality setting. The smaller files give you a faster experience when viewing, searching, uploading, downloading,and sharing than the full size.
If I have Unlimited storage, why does it say I have 13 Gigabytes remaining?
Google gives everyone 15 Gigabytes of storage for free. This storage is shared by all your Google services; Gmail, Google Drive, Contacts, Photos, etc. So, Gmail and Drive may be taking up 2 Gigabytes, for example, bringing your quota down to 13. Photos uploaded using Google Photos at High Quality do not count. So, if you uploaded even 20 Gigabytes of photos, you would still have 13 GB of your quota left.
If you upload photos using Google Drive, they will count against your quota. It’s only when you upload using the Google Photos Backup and Sync, with setting at High Quality, that they don’t count.
What about Pictures I already uploaded at Original Size?
Google now gives you a way to retroactively set past uploads to the High Quality and thus recover the storage space used up on your quota. Using a computer, go to Photos.Google.com, click on the 3 line menu and then Settings. You’ll see an option to Recover Storage. Click that and any already uploaded pictures will be compressed.
Does Uploading Pictures with Picasa use the High Quality Setting?
No. Picasa still uses an old standard size called “Best for Sharing.” This is defined as 2048 pixels on the longest side. To put it in the same terms, let’s say a picture is 2048X2048 – that would be just over 4 MegaPixels – or 1/4 the size of the new “High Quality.”
Here’s what you do: Use Picasa to upload photos at the Original Size option. This will count against your storage quota from Google, but you can later use the option to Recover Storage and retroactively compress those files.
This is what I do now: All my photos collect in the cloud with Google Photos, I make albums of my best photos there, then I download those albums to my computer so I have them in Picasa for safekeeping, collages, text on photos etc. Picasa can Upload to Google Photos, creating an album of photos online. Picasa can also download Albums from Google photos online, creating folders of pictures on your computer that can even synchronize with the cloud.
To upload from Picasa on your computer to Google Photos
Select the photos you want to upload. You’ll see them in the selection tray in the lower left.
Click the Green “Upload to Google Photos” button, log in to your Google account if necessary
Select an existing Album, or click the New button and enter a new album name
Choose a size: Original or Best for Sharing
We recommend Original – this will count against your storage allotment, but you can recover that space later. Selecting Best for Sharing will reduce the resolution of your photos to 2048 px.
To Download from Google Photos to your Computer and Picasa
Click the File menu and Import from Google Photos
Selecting “Import All Albums” will do just that, or clicking on “Import Selected Albums” allows you to specify
These downloaded albums will create folders on your hard drive under the Pictures folder. They will show up in Picasa in the “Web Albums” collection below Folders
In addition to downloading your photos to a folder, you can click the “Sync to Web” button so that any new photos added to the album will be added to the computer. So, you can make a collage using Picasa, then add that collage to the Synced folder and it will be uploaded to
A major advantage to this method of downloading is that captions are preserved! If you added descriptions using Google Photos – those descriptions show up as captions in Picasa. This is not true when you use Google Photos download command. There is also one drawback to this method – Picasa will only download pictures that are not already on your computer. So, if some of these pictures in the Google Photos album started out on your computer, then the album download will create a folder that is missing those pictures. You can avoid this either by always uploading to the cloud first, and just downloading albums. Or, by using folder manager to limit what Picasa is seeing from your computer – fooling it, if you will, into not knowing that those photos already exist.
I use this method all the time to incorporate Picasa into my photo workflow. I gather all my pictures in the cloud with Google Photos – thousands of them – then I download just the best, the ones in albums.
For Geeks on Tour Premium Members
Here are some tutorial videos related to this subject. If you’re not a member, you can join here.
I have roughly 50,000 photos collected online using Google Photos.
Wanna watch my slideshow? I’ll bet not! You’d need a few days of uninterrupted time, and several buckets of popcorn!
No, I want to select just my best pictures and put them in Albums. Then I’ll share my Albums with you.
How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Mobile Device
I do still use a computer, but more and more, it’s my phone that I use to view pictures. It’s nice that I don’t have to use a computer in order to organize my photos into albums. It also doesn’t matter if I use my Samsung Galaxy phone, my iPhone, or my iPad. All of these devices can run the Google Photos app, and they’ll all be looking at my same library of photos.
Select one or more pictures: LongPress on one picture and it will be selected and open up a selection ‘button’ for all your other pictures. Any further pictures you tap on will be added to the selection. You can also select a group all at once by long-pressing on the first and drag thru the rest of the group.
Tap the + in the upper right. This opens up your options to create a new Album (or Movie, Animation, Collage) or Add to an Existing one. You need to scroll down to see the Existing Albums.
If you choose Create New Album – you will be prompted for an Album Name. If you do nothing here, it will be named “Untitled”
If you make an album by accident, you can delete it by tapping on the 3-dot menu in upper right and choose Delete Album. Note that the album needs to be selected first.
How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Computer
Realize when you’re viewing your Google Photos on a computer (photos.google.com) you’re looking at the same 50,000 pictures as you are when you use a phone. Any albums you create using the phone will be viewable using the computer – and vice versa.
Select one or more pictures. When you hover your mouse over a photo, you will see a selection button (round checkmark) appear in the upper left corner – click that to select one photo. Click the select button on further photos to add to the selection. You will see a count of how many photos are selected in the blue bar that appears at the top of your screen. To select a group of photos use the standard procedure of clicking on the first picture, then holding the shift key down when you click on the last picture in the group.
Tap the + in the upper right of screen and select Album (as opposed to Shared, Animation, or Collage)
Next you have the option to make a New album or add to Existing
If you chose New – you will be prompted for an Album name
If you upload photos from your computer to Google Photos, you will have the option to add all photos just uploaded to an album. See this demo we did in Episode 77 of our “What Does This Button Do?” on uploading from computer directly to an album.
How to Make a Google Photos Album using Picasa
If you’re accustomed to using Picasa to make your Web Albums – nothing has changed.
Select the photos you want to upload to an Album
Click the Green Button at the bottom “Upload to Google Photos”
Choose an existing album from the drop-down list, or Click New to make a new album and give it a name.
For size – we recommend the “Original Size” setting. This will initially count against your Google storage allotment rather than free, but you can use the “Recover Storage” feature later to convert the photos to “High Quality.”
So there you have it! The best of both worlds. All 50,000 photos stored safely, for your eyes only, in your Google Account. And, the best photos available in albums so you don’t have to go slogging thru all the riff-raff. If you want to share, use the share button on an album!
If you use an iPhone, you are in the Apple world, and it seems logical to use the Apple photo solutions: Apple Photos and iCloud Photo Library. But, you also have the option to use the Google solution called Google Photos.
Have you been getting frustrated with constant messages by Apple that your iPhone is FULL, or that you need to buy more iCloud space? Or are you simply confused about how your iPhone works with iCloud and your Mac or PC computer? Then you owe it to yourself to take a look at Google Photos. And, if you have an Android device, Google Photos is the logical choice.
I am a Google fan-girl, and I use Google Photos for all my photos. I use an Android phone and Windows computer. I also have an iPad, an iPhone, and a Mac computer so that I can test how things work and be able to help people who use the Apple ecosystem. After using Google Photos for the year since it was released, and exploring the Apple iCloud system throughout that time, I think I’ve come up with the fundamental differences. First let me tell you how they are alike, and a little about how they work.
The Common Purpose
Both Google Photos and Apple’s iCloud Photo Library (different from Photo Stream) will store all of your photos online (aka “in the Cloud”) and allow you to view them all using a mobile device or computer. Both of them will automatically upload photos taken by your phone (or tablet) to your account online. Once all your photos are collected online, you can view them by going to a website (photos.google.com or iCloud.com) or using an App on your mobile device. Both Apple’s App and Google’s App are called “Photos.”
But that’s where the similarities end.
The Fundamental Differences
Devices Supported: Apple’s iCloud supports iOS, Mac, and PC, but not Android. Google Photos supports iOS, Mac, PC, and Android. So, if you have an Android device that you use to take pictures, Apple’s iCloud solution is off the table.
Deleting Photos from Device: Apple’s iCloud Photo Library cannot delete from device. If you delete a photo from any device using iCloud Photo Library it is deleted from every other device. There is one exception – if you have installed iCloud Photo Library on your Windows computer, it will receive all new photos added, but will not remove photos deleted from elsewhere. In other words, there is no “Sync’ing” with iCloud photos on Windows after the initial download of the photos. Google Photos allows you to delete photos from the mobile device that took the picture, while leaving the photo available in the Cloud.
Basic Cloud Philosophy: Apple: Apple uses the Cloud as a service to keep devices in sync. You can see the photos by going to iCloud.com, but you can’t do anything with them there. Google: Google uses the Cloud as the end game. It is where all our our photos collect and live forever. You can edit and create with them there.
Original vs. Compressed File Size: Apple Apple uploads your original size photo and allows you to shrink the copy left on your phone. Google Google allows you to shrink the photo that is uploaded and leaves the copy on your phone untouched. You can then delete the phone copy to free up space.
I prefer Google’s method since it takes less bandwidth to upload smaller photos online. It also means that your web photos will be faster to view and use. Google’s compressed size is called “High Quality” and it maintains up to 16 Megapixels of photo quality while compressing the file size by about half. These are plenty good enough quality for family memories, you can print a good 8X10. If I really want to keep the original, I can use another method to copy my original photos. Either another cloud service like OneDrive, DropBox, or Amazon, or use a USB cable and copy the photos to my computer.
Cost: Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage space. That fills up quickly with full size photos. For only $1/mo you can purchase 50GB more. That is certainly cheap enough – I don’t mind pay the $1, what I mind is having to pay attention! Google gives you unlimited Free storage for photos IF you use the “High Quality” size discussed in #4 above. The High Quality unlimited free option is our recommendation. If you choose to upload your original quality photos, they will count against your 15GB of free Google storage. To buy more, is $1.99/mo for 100GB.
Sync with Computer
Apple iCloud sees your Mac computer as another sync’ed device as long as you have iCloud Photo Library turned on. Add a photo from any device and it adds to every other one, delete a photo from any device and it deletes from all. The Photos App has a version that runs on the Mac – so your Mac computer is like a mobile device in the way Photos works. You can, however specify original sized photos to be used on the Mac. Windows computers have a version of iCloud Photo Library which will download the pictures, but there is no Windows version of the Photos app, so there is no synchronizing. Google Photos only sees computers as a source of photos, computers are not sync’ed devices. You can upload photos from a Computer to the Google Photos library in the Cloud, but the connection ends there. Deleting from the library or from the computer will not delete from the other. Editing a photo on either side will not update to the other. You can also download photos from your online library to your computer. If you use Picasa on your computer, you can download Albums from Google Photos, you can also use Picasa’s Sync tool to keep them synchronized.
Moving to Google Photos
If you agree with me that Google is the better option, the next question is: How do I get my pictures from Apple’s iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos? You can Install the Google Photos App on your iPhone or iPad and turn on Backup and Sync. Assuming you have iCloud Photo Library turned on, this will upload your complete iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos. It starts with your earliest photos and works its way to the present. In my test it was able to upload 400-500 photos per hour. Of course, your mileage may vary especially depending on your Internet connection speed!
I question, however, if using your mobile device is the best way. If you have your iCloud Photo Library set to “Optimize iPhone Storage” then you might be letting Google Photos upload reduced size photo files. And Google Photos is adding its own compression as well. When I experimented with this procedure, the photos did not seem to be extra small. They looked fine. Some were 600K, but some were 2MB. I have no way to definitively know what is happening here. But, if you can, it would be better to upload from a Mac’s Photo Library where the iCloud setting is for Original size rather than optimized.
We recently presented a Google Photos seminar to a Genealogy group. We used our smartphone and snapped pictures of old photos in a photo album. These were pictures of my Great Grandfather, Charles Noyes, and my Great Grandmother, Mae Manning Noyes. Charles was born in 1869 and Mae was born in 1872, yet when I snap a copy of their photo – the resulting picture will be dated in 2016!
Photos are Automatically Sorted by Date
In Google Photos, your library of pictures is kept in order by date – period. You can make albums to group selected pictures any way you want, but the library of all your photos is viewed in a dated stream with the most recent on top. It is wonderful to view the pictures of my life in order like that, and with just a little bit of work, the photos of my Great Grandparents can also be put in order where they belong – in the 1800s.
Use a Computer to Change the Date
Google Photos can be used on an Android device or an Apple iOS device, but for this particular feature, you need a computer.
On any computer, open a web browser (preferably Chrome) and go to Photos.Google.com. Be sure you’re logged in with your account
Find the photo that needs a date change and click it
Click the i button in the upper right. That stands for Info and it will open a right sidebar
Hover over the date and a pencil will appear – click on the pencil and you can edit the date
Enter the desired date, then click Save.
Added Aug 2016: you can now select multiple photos then change the date for all, just click the 3-dot menu – Edit Date and Time
You picture will be instantly relocated, in the stream of all your photos, to it’s proper date ordered position.
I went for a walk with my Mom the other afternoon. We have this favorite little park, and it was a gorgeous day. She’s walking pretty slow these days, so I had ample opportunity to take my phone out of my pocket and snap pictures. I showed her each picture I took and she would point out something else worthy of a shot.
Editing Pictures as you Take Them is FUN
I was excited to catch the duck in flight just as it came in for a landing. Then I looked at the photo on my phone and realized that you couldn’t even see the duck! It needed to be cropped. No problem, with no tools other than my finger and the phone, I tap on the little pencil that brings up Google Photos editing tools, tap the crop tool and drag a corner in closer to the duck while still leaving some of the lily pads in the shot. I tap the checkmark to signal that I’m done with cropping, Then, one tap on the Auto adjustment gives me a better look.
The second picture below just has an auto adjustment applied, and the third has a crop and auto adjustment.
Yes you can make a collage on your phone
I took a few more pictures, including a selfie of Mom and me that needed no improvement at all! It was such a nice day I wanted to share it with my friends on Facebook, but I didn’t want to post multiple pictures, so I decided to make a collage. Still using nothing but Google Photos on my phone:
I select 7 pictures
Tap the + button in the upper right
While viewing the collage, I tap the share button , choose Facebook, and post to Friends. I also tapped the + and added the collage to my monthly Web Album on Google Photos.
During this lovely one hour walk, I took pictures, enjoyed having Mom point out more pictures, had fun editing them, and shared a collage to Facebook, and added the day’s collage to my monthly album … all before even getting back to the car!
Google Photos has removed all the work and left only the play
In years past, I would have taken my digital SLR camera – a Canon Rebel T3i – and taken many of the same pictures. After getting home I would need to transfer them from the camera to the computer, decide where to store them, spend some time doing the editing, upload the best ones to the web, make the collage and upload that too. That would probably take me a half hour using Picasa, much longer with other software. A half hour may not sound like much, but when you multiply that times all the days and all the pictures I like to take – well, I think you get the idea. And, worse than the time it takes is when I didn’t take the time and never enjoyed my pictures or shared them.
I love playing with my pictures and trying out the different creations that Google Photos includes. And, at the end of the day, I’m done. All my photos are safely, and privately, stored in my Google Account in the cloud. I can delete them from my phone to free up space for taking more! I also have Microsoft OneDrive grabbing a copy of all my phone’s photos for the ‘belt and suspenders’ protection. This is all automatic.
Google made it official with an announcement on February 12, 2016: Moving on from Picasa. They are retiring Picasa and devoting all their efforts to one photo product: Google Photos. This affects both the desktop software, Picasa3, and the web service, Picasa Web Albums. If you use either the desktop software, or the website, this announcement affects you.
How the announcement affects you – short answer:
Picasa3 Desktop: you can still use the desktop software but we recommend saving your edits now,
Picasa Web Albums: you’ll need to switch to Google Photos instead of Picasa Web Albums, no transfer of pictures necessary.
For the long answer, keep reading.
We hosted a Live Panel Discussion on the Picasa Announcement on our weekly web show, What Does This Button Do?
Live webcast with discussion of the Picasa announcement
Keep using it! Long Live Picasa! Although this product will not receive further updates, either bug fixes or enhancements, it is software that you download to your computer’s hard drive. If you have it, you can keep using it. Nothing will change. It will not self destruct. Your pictures will still be right where you put them, on your hard drive.
Google Photos replacing Picasa3? No – Google Photos will not, nay, CAN NOT replace Picasa3 Desktop software. Google Photos is not an option for working with pictures on your hard drive. The pictures must be uploaded to the Web (Photos.Google.com) before you can do anything with them using Google Photos. If you have a good Internet connection, you may find that you enjoy working with them on the web and you can stop keeping copies on your computer (except for archival purposes.) When that day comes for you, Google Photos can replace Picasa, but not before.
Using Outdated software? Most of us have outdated software that we still use. I use Photo Story 3 even though it is a software product that has not been officially supported since Windows XP! It still does what I want it to do, so why not? I would not continue to use the operating system of Windows XP because that is a security and computer performance issue, nor do I advise using the outdated navigation system of Streets and Trips because updates are important when roads change. PIcasa3 is software that is meant to do a job with pictures on your computer hard drive. It will continue to do that job even after it is “retired”, so you can continue to use it.
Parts of Picasa will be affected. There are parts of the program that interact with the web:
Upload to Google Photos
Synchronize with Web Albums
Upload videos to YouTube
As long as these features are working for you, you can use them. I expect that they will develop problems over time because the Web side of the equation will change, and Google will not fix those problems on this retired software. You will need to perform those tasks with other methods. For example, to upload to Google Photos you would use Google Photos; to Email pictures you would use your email program. I have also been hearing of some problems with importing pictures using Picasa’s tools. I recommend importing with standard Windows or Mac tools.
Save Your Edits! Using those alternate ways of sending pictures to the web means that you will be interacting with your pictures outside of Picasa, you will be uploading the picture as it is found on your hard drive rather than the one you see in Picasa that shows your edits. See this article if you don’t understand what I mean: Original vs Edited Photo in Picasa
You now need to get accustomed to saving your edits so the picture found on the hard drive is the same one you’re seeing with Picasa. For an individual picture you use File->Save. For a folder of pictures, you can save them all at once by clicking on the disk icon:
Picasa Web Albums
After May 1, 2016 you will need to switch to using Google Photos. Picasa Web Albums is going away. After May 1 you will not be able to create a new Picasa Web Album (update: it is now June 1 and PWA is still here – but it is still expected to go away sometime.) All of your existing Web Albums will be (are now) accessible via Google Photos. All links to your photos in places like Blogs will still work. They will also be accessible at a new “Archive” site that Google is creating. This is necessary because Picasa Web Albums included some data that Google Photos does not – such as comments. In order to see comments that were left on your photos using Picasa Web Albums, you will need to visit the new Archive site. There are quite a few features that the Google Photos website lacks in comparison to Picasa Web Albums:
Sorting Album lists by Date or Album Title(Google Photos is only by date, descending in the library, ascending in Albums)
Sorting Photos within Album: by Date-Oldest First or Newest First, or By Filename (Google Photos is only by Date-Oldest First) Update 6/1: you can now Edit Album and drag photos into new order
I wish that Google had decided to keep Picasa3 Desktop software in a maintenance mode. They haven’t updated it in any significant way for the past 4 years, why not keep it going for another 1 or 2 years? In that time Google Photos would become more mature, and people would be more accustomed to working with their pictures on the web rather than on their computer.
I wish that Google had decided to maintain the Picasa Web Albums website for another year while they added some of the missing features to the Google Photos interface. Google Photos is still so new. People need more time to accept change, and they will be more willing when Google Photos has more features.
Guess what? Google didn’t ask me before they did this! And, I’m sure that there are a lot more factors that Google has to consider. The underlying technology is changing all the time, and Google stays on top of that. In fact, Google is often inventing the new technology, and they can’t move as fast as they need to when they are shackled by maintaining legacy connections. Google also has plenty of business considerations. They recently reorganized the whole company under the Alphabet name. I’m sure that has a lot of repercussions.
If you also wish that they would not retire Picasa now, you can add your voice by visiting Photos.Google.com, clicking on the 3-bar menu and then Send Feedback. Who knows, enough voices can make a difference! At least add a vote for your important features to be added to Google Photos. Mine are 1: captions that stay with pictures when downloaded, 2:watermarks on shared photos 3:Display all public albums with one URL web address.
I’m Going with Google
I intend to embrace Google Photos completely. I love how it effortlessly it collects ALL the photos of my life, and gives me fun ways to display and share them. I trust Google with my pictures. I have nearly 50,000 pictures stored online in my Google Account and there is no charge for that (I’m fine with the less-than-original file size required.) Google Photos offers unlimited storage for free. I started uploading my pictures to Google around 2005 with Picasa Web Albums, and, as far as I can tell, they are all still there. But, for local backup, I have also used the Google Takeout service to download a copy of all my Google Photos to an external hard drive for safe keeping.
I will also continue to use Picasa3 on my computer as long as I have pictures on my hard drive. The more I use Google Photos however, the less I am keeping photos on my hard drive. I am downloading just specific ones, when there is something I want that only Picasa3 can do, like add Watermarks, other text on pictures, real captions, or fancy collages.
This website, PicasaGeeks.com, will continue to teach Picasa. There are currently over 250 articles, mostly on features of the Picasa3 desktop software. Those will remain, and I will still write more in response to your questions. But, I will also be writing about Google Photos. I’ve started a brand new site to focus on Google Photos: LearnGooglePhotos.com
Desktop: If for some reason, you don’t want to continue using Picasa3 Desktop software, here are some suggested alternatives:
Windows Photo Gallery: This is probably the software that most closely resembles Picasa3 desktop software. It is free from Microsoft. It works with the photos on your computer’s hard drive. It can upload photos and share them on OneDrive, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube. Downside: this software hasn’t been upgraded since 2012 – it could also get ‘retired.’ It has some great photo features like Photo Fuse, but it is missing two important ones: Text on photos, Collages.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 14: This is not a free program. The cost is $99, currently on sale for $69. The latest version is 14. This is desktop software. It can share with Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Twitter. Expect a relatively steep learning curve, but you will be rewarded with powerful features.
Windows 10 Photos: This is the photo management program that comes with Windows 10. It has basic editing, and it shares online automatically using Microsoft OneDrive. It can also share with Facebook and Twitter. 15 GB of free storage, 50GB for $1.99/mo or 1TB free with Office 365.
Apple Photos: Desktop software for Macs and App for iPhone/iPad. Shares with iCloud Photo Library. 5GB of free storage space, then plans up to 1TB.
Web: If Google Photos does not offer the features you need for Web Storage and Photo Sharing, here are some alternatives:
Dropbox.com: Not a photo program, it is Cloud storage that could take the place of Picasa Web Albums. It can combine nicely with Picasa3 on the Desktop to provide web storage and sharing of photos with a smooth integration with the desktop. Just point Picasa’s File Manager to your Dropbox folder on your hard drive and you have synchronization! 2GB of free storage space, then $9.99/mo for 1TB.
Flickr.com: Owned by Yahoo. The granddaddy of Photo Sharing websites. No desktop software, but powerful web storage and sharing. 1TB of free storage space.
Amazon Prime Photos: Using Amazon Cloud Drive, Prime members get unlimited photos storage for free.
Facebook Photos: We use Facebook so much, we forget that it is storing our photos!
Microsoft OneDrive: As mentioned above the Windows Photos app uses OneDrive for storing photos online. You can use it directly without the Photos app as well. The online interface has nice photo management features like tags, albums, and slideshows, but no editing.
Apple’s iCloud Photo Library will store your photos, but only for Apple devices.
For more information, please watch our video above with the panel of experts.
Picasa has many features that Google Photos does not. The most important feature, for me, is captions. Picasa can add captions to your photos that are stored with the picture file itself and can be viewed by other software. I love captions. At a glance, I can see which photos I’ve identified as the best because I only add captions to my best. I also see, at a glance what the picture is about – SO important for aging memories! Even more for aging pictures! If you are a Geeks on Tour premium member, you can watch this video about using Captions in Picasa: Add Captions to your Photos #154 If you don’t see captions below your pictures in Picasa, turn them on with the following command: View->Thumbnail Caption->Caption.
Picasa Makes Captions that Show Up and Stick with the Picture
Remember that Picasa is viewing pictures on my computer. All of these pictures in the screenshot above are on my computer and the captions are stored in the metadata of the .jpg picture itself. So, if you use any method to transfer this picture to somewhere else, the caption goes with it. Whether or not the recipient will see that caption depends on what software they are using to view it, but I guarantee that the caption is encapsulated in the picture file. For example, if you use Picasa’s tool to “Upload to Google Photos,” the caption does go with it, but it doesn’t show up easily. It is available for searching in Google Photos.
To see the text associated with a photo in Google Photos, you need to click the i-for Information.
Google Photos Makes Descriptions that are Hidden and are Lost in Transfer
If you are using Google Photos, then this text is referred to as “Description.” For any photo in Google Photos, you can click the I for Info and you will see a field for “Description.” Type whatever you want in there and that description will stick with the picture as long as you are using Google Photos, but, if you download that picture to your computer – the description is lost. Google Photo’s Description text is stored in some kind of database associated with Google Photos rather than in the metadata of the picture itself.
Ask Google for this New Feature
Captions are extremely important to me, and I hope you agree enough to voice your opinion directly to the good folks at Google. Google Photos is being upgraded all the time, and they listen to the requests of users if you use the proper channels. Having lots of people request the same feature is like taking a vote. The more ‘votes’ a feature gets, the more likely it is that Google will take action. Here’s what you do:
Go to your Google Photos (on Web, or Android, or iOS)
Click the 3-line menu (upper left of screen)
Choose “Send Feedback” and leave your request. You can copy what I wrote if you like: Please add true captions to photos. The current “description” is lost when I download the photo to my computer. It needs to be written to the metadata of the .jpg file. I would also like captions to appear under the photos in library or slideshow view. Click NEXT
Next comes a step where you can add a screenshot to your feedback. However, in this case, you cannot see the Info part of the screen while you’re in the Feedback tool, so this step will make no sense. It will capture whatever is on your screen and send it in with your feedback. You can use the option to blackout any personal information if necessary. Click NEXT
To clarify the unrelated screenshot, I added this text to my feedback: I could not get an appropriate screenshot, because you can’t click on a picture and go into i for Information while using Feedback.
Get everyone you know to do the same! And maybe we’ll see a caption update someday soon.
A Workaround to see Descriptions
If you’ve been using Picasa for a few years, you remember the online sharing feature called Picasa Web Albums. When Picasa first started uploading pictures to the web – into your Google account – it used this interface called Picasa Web Albums. That interface is still there. It accesses the same set of photos that you see with Google Photos, but it uses different (older) programming – and, therefore has different features. One thing it has is visible captions. If you use Google Photos and the Description field to type some text on all the pictures in an album, for example, you can view a slideshow of that album using Picasa Web Albums (www.picasaweb.google.com) and you will see the Descriptions show up as an overlay at the bottom of the pictures. Nice! But, if you then download any of those photos – you still lose the Description – so, this is only solves half the problem. Having Captions or Descriptions or Titles that stay with the picture is my primary need.