Dec 232013

picasabackupIf you use the Picasa desktop software regularly, you may have noticed an update within the last week.  If you installed this update, you saw a message asking if you want to turn on the new Auto Backup feature.   If you say yes, then you need to be sure to log in to your Google+ account.  This isn’t so much a feature of Picasa as it is a separate app from Google Plus.  In fact, you won’t find an Auto Backup setting in PIcasa; it is actually a program called Google+ Auto Backup that you’ll find in your Control Panel / Programs area.  There are also settings you must check. 

Settings to Change:

  1. Select just the folders you want uploaded for the Backup Sources
  2. Be sure to change Photo Size to Standard, unless you’re willing to pay for more Google Storage
  3. UNcheck the option to “Also copy photos/videos from cameras and storage cards to My Pictures\…

First, you set what folders of pictures you want backed up.  If you don’t select specific folders, it’s going to look thru all of your computer for pictures.  Second, you should change the photo size to Standard size of 2048 – you have unlimited free storage space if you limit your uploaded picture size to 2048.  If you leave it at Full size, you will quickly use up your free storage.  You can purchase more storage at $5/mo for 100 GB.  As for the “Also copy photos to My Pictures\… Really?   How many copies can we handle?  I’m buried in pictures as it is.  I’m now working on how to eliminate some duplicates, not create more!



This Backup Feature is Not for Me

I have my own backup system, I’ve written about it many times.  To be honest, I’ve only had to use my backups once that I can remember.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the effort.  But, yes, one backup set is g backup1esssential.  These days I take most of my pictures with my Android phone or my iPad.  Those pictures may be automatically sent to the cloud using iCloud, Dropbox, or Google+ .  Heck, you can even set Facebook and Skydrive to automatically make their own copies of pictures taken with your mobile devices.  This new feature from Google+ adds to those hundreds of pictures by also including all the pictures that are now stored on your computer.  In my case, those pictures are already backed up – once with my archival photo backups and again with my disaster recovery computer backup system.  I don’t want them backed up yet again!  I just don’t need that many copies, not to mention the bandwidth that is being used.  Notice in the image at left, you see the icon for Google+ Photos image in the system tray and the message that it’s going to take 17 days to do the initial upload of 10,000 pictures!  Many of us are using limited bandwidth cellular plans for our Internet connection.  This feature alone could easily use up a standard monthly allotment.

Is this Backup Feature for You?

If you are just starting with digital photography and Picasa – this could be a great option for you.  Just turn it on and know that you’re always protected.  You will never lose a photo.  That is, IF you trust Google with your account, and IF you’re content with the 2048 compressed size. 

Here at Geeks on Tour, we field a lot of questions from folks about using Picasa.  I can’t count how many times we’ve gotten the following question: “My computer crashed, how do I recover all my pictures with Picasa?”  People who ask this question have been under the mistaken impression that Picasa, on their computer, automatically copied all their pictures to the web.  I would have to deliver the bad news that their pictures were gone – unless they had manually uploaded them to Picasa Web Albums, or made a backup to disk.  I think this new backup feature is aimed squarely at those people.  Now, assuming they had turned the feature on, we will be able to tell the distressed photographer that all their pictures are safely stored in their Google+ account – at least a lower resolution copy of them.

Do you Know Where Your Pictures Are?

Before you go signing up for more backup plans, we think it’s important to be more organized with your pictures.  With cell phones and tablets today, you may be taking pictures with several devices.  How do you keep them all organized?  Watch this video for our advice.

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.