Aug 082013

Change is hard. Those of us who have been using Picasa Web Albums for years, to share our pictures on the web, didn’t like that Google is changing to Google+ Photos and leaving Picasa Web Albums (PWA) behind.  At first, the Google+ picture display fanned out your pictures in each album like cards fanned out in your hand.  I found that to be annoying.  They don’t do that anymore. There were several features in Picasa Web Albums  that were initially missing from Google+, like slideshows, and downloading albums.  Google+ is catching up, those 2 missing features are there now.  For the few features that are still missing, it’s easy to go to Picasa Web Albums and use them there.  What I really love about Google+ Photos now is the way it displays my pictures. It fills the screen with just my photos.  And it automatically enhances them.  Once in a while, I go to Picasa Web Albums and the display makes my pictures look old and plain by comparison.    Here’s a sample of the pictures from my most recent album – shown with Google+ Photos.

google photos

Reasons to Join Google Plus for your Photos

I’m not saying that the confusion is gone.  There’s still a lot to learn when it comes to sharing with Google+, but you can still just share with a link like we’ve always done with PWA.  See this past article on What Happened to Picasa Web Albums.  But, if you tried it before and didn’t like how it handled your pictures, it’s time to give it a second chance. Whenever you log in to your Google account, you probably see this screen (below) where you can join Google+.  Just make sure your name is correct, add your gender, and birthday and you now have Google+ as part of your Google account.  If you should decide you don’t like it, you can always remove the Google+ info from your profile – just make sure you don’t remove your whole account. 

google join

That’s it.  Now, when you upload from Picasa on your computer – you will see them online using Google+.  Here’s Google’s official page explaining Picasa Web Albums and Google+.  Here are the reasons I like using Google+ Photos:

  1. Unlimited free online photo storage if you agree to limit your uploaded photos to 2048 pixels.  That’s plenty big enough for sharing online, or even printing, and the resizing is handled automatically by Picasa on your computer.
  2. Automatic uploading of pictures from your phone or tablet and stored privately online for free.  Just install the Google+ app on your phone or tablet.
  3. Ability to share with ‘circles’ of friends, in addition to the existing public, or private sharing.  You can still share with link.
  4. Beautiful display of your pictures, including auto-enhancing (you can turn this off if you don’t like it – I love it.)
  5. Photo editing, organizing, displaying, and sharing procedures are getting better all the time since Google is putting their efforts into the Google+ product and not Picasa Web Albums
  6. Why not use Google+?  Picasa Web Albums is still there, just use the link: and you’ll be seeing the same albums using the Picasa Web Albums interface.

Try Searching

You can do this with Picasa Web Albums as well, but it’s just nowhere near as obvious as in Google+ Photos.  In Picasa Web Albums, when you search for ‘beach’ the default is to search all the public photos anywhere on Picasa Web Albums.  In Google+ photos, the default is to search your own photo library.  It picks up the word ‘beach’ in captions, tags, or album titles, just like Picasa on your computer.  In the sample below, these beach pictures come from Oregon, Florida and Mexico – all from my Web Albums. 

google PhotoSearch

What about You?

Do you use Google+ Photos now?  Are you avoiding it? 

May 312012

Picasa Web Albums is still there, but with Google entering the social networks game with Google+, the Web Albums are caught in the middle.  Pictures are the number one things that people want to share using social networking sites.  Google is trying to transition from Picasa Web Albums to Google+ Photos, leaving Picasa Web Albums in tact for those who choose not to join Google+.   This transitional period is messy, and it’s changing daily. 

Picasa 3.8 –> Upload to Picasa Web Albums
(click for larger image)
Picasa 3.9 without joining Google+ –> ‘Upload to Web Album’3.9 web album
(click for larger image)

Picasa 3.9 with Google+ account –> Upload and Share on Google+googleplus-albums(click for larger image)

When I sat down to write this article, I was hoping I could make sense of it all and give you a nice, neat explanation of how it all works right now.  I can’t.  There’s just too much, and it’s changing too quickly. 

Here’s what I can tell you:

  1. Your photos are being uploaded to one physical location.  There are two interfaces to view that one set of photos: Picasa Web Albums and Google+ Photos  DO NOT delete pictures from one and expect them to still be there in the other – your online pictures only exist once, if you delete them using either interface, they’re gone. Think of it like separate parents with joint custody. Both Picasa Web Albums and Google+ Photos have joint custody of your uploaded pictures.  When you’re using Picasa Web Albums, you have all the PWA features like slide-shows which are not yet implemented in Google+.
  2. If you haven’t joined Google+ then you will only have the Picasa Web Albums interface available to you.  Nothing has changed except the button in Picasa 3.9 is now green and reads ‘Share’ rather than ‘Upload’ as it was in PIcasa 3.8 – see screenshots above.
  3. If you have joined Google+ then your default interface will be Google+ Photos, but you can manually go to the Picasa Web Albums interface at
    note: when I say you ‘have joined’ or ‘haven’t joined’ … I mean that you’re logged in with a Google account that ‘has joined’ or ‘hasn’t joined’ Google+.  For example, I have several Google accounts – only one of them has joined Google+.  If I log in with one of the others then I ‘haven’t joined’ Google+
  4. Using Picasa 3.8 on your computer, the button is called ‘Upload’ and you will be using the Picasa Web Albums interface whether you have joined Google+ or not. 
  5. Using Picasa 3.9 on your computer your options are slightly different.  If you have not joined Google+, the button will say ‘Share’ and you’re using the Picasa Web Albums interface.  If you have joined Google+ the button will say ‘Share on Google+’ and you’re using the Google+ interface to your pictures by default.  Remember – your pictures are being uploaded to the same physical location either way (see #1 above.) 
  6. Using Picasa 3.9 and Google+ to create an album viewable by anyone with the link: If you don’t ‘Add circles or people to share with..’ then you are just Uploading – not sharing on Google+.  The album created will be private. Then you can go to the album on Google+, click on Options and change to ‘Share Album via Link.’  This is the equivalent of Picasa Web Album’s visibility property of ‘Limited, anyone with link.’  (see member tutorial video: Picasa 3.9 and Google Plus Sharing)  If you want to join Google+ but you want to keep managing your Web Albums the same way you did in Picasa Web Albums – by sharing links – then this is the technique for you.
  7. Image Size and Unlimited Storage: Using Picasa 3.9 and the Share button, if you leave the image size at ‘Best for Web Sharing’, then you have unlimited storage for free on your Web Albums.  Specifically, any uploaded picture under 2048 pixels (aka ‘Best for Web Sharing) doesn’t count toward your 1GB of free space.
  8. Automatic Uploads from your Phone.  If you have Google+ installed on your smartphone, then it will automatically upload any photo taken with your smartphone to a private album called ‘From Phone’ or, in Picasa Web Albums ‘Instant Upload.’

Removing Google+

If you’ve tried Google+ and you don’t like it and want to go back to the way it was before Google+, you can delete your Google+ Profile.  Do not delete your Google account!  That will delete all your photo albums, email accounts, blogs, and whatever else you’ve created with your Google Account.  To remove Google+ from your Google Account:

  1. On any Google product page, click on the dropdown arrow next to your picture in the upper right corner and choose Account
  2. On your Google account page, click on Google+ from the left side menu, then scroll to the bottom where it reads, “Disable Google+” and click the word ‘here.’
  3. Choose ‘Delete Google+ Content’ and then click the button Remove selected services.
  4. That’s it!  Any content you added to Google+ will be gone – but your pictures will still be there.  Remember?  Picasa Web Albums had ‘joint custody’ with Google+.  If you remove Google+, Picasa Web Albums now has sole custody again.  For more details see member tutorial video Removing Google+ to use Picasa Web Albums.  This video takes an existing Google account and adds Google+, showing what happens to the Web Albums.  Then it removes Google+ and shows the results.


If you used Picasa Web Albums like I did … to house photos that I shared with friends via a link (or to embed in blog)  … then there’s no reason why you can’t join Google+.  The text in blue above, #6, explains the procedure I follow to maintain the same functionality.

Some people really like Google+.  It is a lot faster on my smartphone (and Android i.e. Google phone!) than Facebook.  I really like how it allows me to automatically share my Blogger (also Google) blog posts to all my Google+ friends.  And, the new ‘Local’ feature I expect will be very handy for finding friends’ reviews of favorite eating places and other businesses. 

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, using Android Smartphones, 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.

Nov 032009

This Friday, November 13, you can watch a one hour Picasa Seminar on the Web.  Geeks on Tour will be in Mountain View, California to co-host this webinar with Google. 

You can check it out and register for the event by visiting the Picasa Help page. 

Here’s the Webinar description:

New to Picasa? Want to learn how to edit and organize your photos? The Picasa team, along with Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour, will be hosting a free webinar tailored to Picasa newcomers. You will learn quick and easy ways to crop, add effects, change the coloring and improve your photos. Following the demo there will be a Q&A portion hosted by the Picasa team and Geeks on Tour. Hope you can join us!

Register for the event