Dec 272011

Several articles in this website preach about backing up your pictures from your computer. (Picasa Tip: Why I Backup to CD/DVD, Have you Backed up your Pictures Lately?, Backp! Backup! Backup!, Don’t Delete your Original Photos)  This article is about how you can backup the pictures on your Picasa Web Albums. Even if you don’t use Picasa Web Albums itself, if you upload pictures to your Blogger blog, a Picasa Web Album is created to store all those photos.  This gives you even more reason to back it up!

Don’t Delete a  Google Plus Photo Album

If you’ve been using Picasa Web Albums and/or Blogger for a while, it is very important to backup your online web albums to your local computer.  Why? Because they may get accidentally erased online.  I’ve been reading a lot lately about people accidentally erasing their web albums when they start using Google Plus for example.  As I explained in my last Picasa Tip about version 3.9, your Google Plus photos and your Picasa Web Album photos are one and the same.  Lucky for you, you read this blog!  So, you know that, if you delete an album from Google Plus Photos – you are deleting your Picasa Web Album, and you won’t do it … right?!

Even if you know that, there may be other reasons that you mistakenly delete one of your albums, or that Google mistakenly marks your account as spam and deletes your whole account!  For these, and other unforeseen reasons, it is important to make an archival backup of your Picasa Web Albums.

Use Google Takeout to Backup your Picasa Web Albums

The tool provided for this purpose is called Google Takeout and you’ll find it at


See this cute little video from the team that creates Google Takeout – from the Data Liberation Front for an introduction.

You can use Takeout to create a zip file of *all* your Google related data that is stored on the web, but all I’m interested in is the Picasa Web Albums.  So, Click on Choose Services, then Picasa Web Albums and then ‘Create Archive.’


Notice, in my case, I have 6,134 pictures for a total of 2.7GB, so don’t try to download this to your computer when you’re using a limited bandwidth Internet connection!

The first step is all completed online – it ‘builds’ a package of all your web albums.  It finishes the package by ‘zipping’ it.  So the actual file to be downloaded is less than the sum of all the albums, but it’s still large.  When it’s ready, you’ll see the word ‘complete’ and there will be a button to Download the .zip file to your computer.


Download the Zip file of all your Pictures

These downloadable zip files stay available in your Google Takeout account page under the heading ‘Downloads.’  I don’t know how long they stay there, so you do want to Download them to your computer as soon as you have a good Internet connection.  Once you click download, you can navigate to the location where you want it stored, and you can change the name of the .zip file if you like.  Once it’s downloaded, you can look inside the .zip file just by double-clicking.  Notice that the albums are listed just like folders, and you can see the .jpg files inside.  This means that if you ever needed to get any of these pictures back, you just unzip the file (right-click and ‘Extract All) and you’ll have the actual pictures.  It’s not a special backup that requires a special restore.

Then, breathe a sigh of relief knowing that all your Picasa Web Albums are safe and sound on your computer’s hard drive in case anything should happen to them on the web.

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.