Google Photos Does Not Replace Picasa

Picasa isn’t going anywhere. Picasa is software on your computer for working with the photos on your computer. It’s freely available at 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
  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 –> 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.

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Chris is a teacher. Although she comes as close to an expert as possible in many areas of computer usage, she can still remember what it's like not to know these things! That means she can communicate with students in a way that teaches and doesn't demean. She really enjoys teaching one-on-one and for groups of people, but she reaches a worldwide audience with her tutorial videos on the website. She currently travels the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. As Geeks on Tour, they present computer seminars at RV rallies, computer clubs, and Senior Centers all over the US.

23 thoughts on “Google Photos Does Not Replace Picasa”

  1. I have used Picasa for many years and have now activated Google Photos on both my Android phone and Windows laptop.
    Thanks for continuing to provide your specific easy to understand advice.
    Can you recommend an alternate workflow that does not require Dropbox?


    1. Without using Dropbox you need to turn on the autobackup on your mobile devices then manually download those to your computer.


      1. I’ve always done just what you described: auto-backup photos from my phone to the Google Photos cloud, then manually download those photos to my PC, organize them in Picasa, and then RE-upload them to the cloud. Very annoying.

        I use Google Drive instead of Dropbox, and your comment about using Dropbox got me thinking.

        I just looked, and indeed, all my recent phone photos are in my Google Drive/Google Photos folder in my PC, already synced and ready to go! Now I’m just gonna set Picasa to scan those local folders and I’ll be all set!

        Thanks for the idea!


  2. While Picasa and GooglePhotos work together and make a good “GooglePhotoSystem” we still need PicasaWebAlbums and Google+Photos because they do many things that are not yet part of GooglePhotos.
    A tighter integration of Picasa with Google Photos and an updating of the former and a maturing of the latter should be the strategy. Here’s hoping.


    1. Agreed! The only way I’ve figured out how to make a public album in google photos is to share it with Google+! ??


  3. Thank you for all your information over the years. Keep Picasa going for us as we enjoy working with all the editing tools. I can’t understand why Goggle wants to keep changing an easy way to process our pictures.


  4. I just started using Google Photos and uploaded photos from my laptop and phone. Some of the uploads needed to be restarted more than once. Now I have up to 6 duplicates of some photos in Google Photos. Do you have any ideas on removing duplicates?

    Thanks. I enjoy your casts very much!


    1. Removing duplicates is more trouble than its worth. Just view your pictures in your intentionally created albums instead of ALL photos


  5. As an avid Picasea user for years, I have a lot of issues and questions about Google Photos (in addition to the difficulty of finding a specific photo online now – the search is terrible).

    Maybe I’m missing something but here’s a big one for me right now. Editing a photo in Picasa saves 2 versions of the picture – the original and the edited one. On the computer, this is no problem since they’re in different folders. However, Google Photos organizes photos according to date taken so these 2 versions show up online side by side (with the same name if I haven’t changed the file name when editing). Since the differences are often subtle lighting adjustments, I can’t always tell the difference from the thumbnails. There’s no option to view a larger version side by side, and the information pane is no help.

    Any advice besides renaming hundreds (thousands?) of edited files?


    1. Use albums on Google Photos. When you’re looking at all photos – it is just that ALL photos. When you’re looking at Collections->Albums those are your edited and intentionally uploaded albums.


      1. Thanks Chris.
        I know that but I didn’t organize all of my photos into albums in Picasa. A lot of material was only on my PC – in well organized folders. The thought of uploading everything again is daunting. It took Google photos over 5 days to upload everything and uploading through Picasa is manual.


  6. I have a Roku player. The screen saver was my photos from Picasa web albums. I loved it sometimes just watching my own little slide show . Then I started getting other photos. All wonderful, but not mine. What gives?


  7. I’m having trouble getting Google+ to consistently handle the tags I added to my pictures in Picasa…and I don’t see them at all in Google Photos. I even tried embedding them using the Picasa “experimental tool”. Thoughts?


  8. Google photos changes the way albums are created in the new app. It links photos to albums and doesn’t move them. So you have the autoupload directory with all the photos in it and then links to directories, so there is only evere one photo and that can be viewed in many albums. Delete the autoupload photo and all photos (links) are removed from directories too. This is a big change! All my existing photos were uploaded by picasa and are stored in directories.
    How do you see this change effecting how we store our photos on the future? Especially if picasa is not updated.


  9. It appears all the tags I assigned in Picasa are GONE when the pix are now viewed through Google photos. However it appears the tags really ARE there cause I can search them.

    Why cant I see them..and how can I add additional tags in G-Photos?


  10. I think Google needs to step up and STATE what their plans are for Picasa going forward. Becaise it a FREE product – their sharing their plans for it does not hurt sales or anything like that.

    I dont want to build a workflow on an app that may be gone soon or juts be neglected over time.

    Everyone agrees (except Google) that the edits in Picasa are rich and full. The ones in G-Photos are basic…as are the ones in SnapSeed (their IOS edit answer).


  11. Google recently told me that I was running out of storage space in my account- I was surprised to see that much of my data usage was photos- I’ve used Picasa for years and have not been knowingly saving photos to Google Photos. My question is that if I delete a photo in Google Photos will that also delete the same photo in my Picasa web album? Are they now one and the same? My Picasa app on my phone now reads Best Album. Help! Thanks so much.


  12. Interesting post and discussion but I was hoping that I might find an answer to the question of whether the new Google Photos Backup duplicates the uploads that I have been backing up online for years?

    There is no mention of this in the help forums for this dilemma, I see no reason to double my images and back myself into the corner of having to buy more storage.

    Any thoughts?


    1. I’m afraid you will, indeed, end up with duplicates, but you won’t need to buy more storage if you use the “High Resolution” option rather than the “Original size”. High resolution – up to 16 MegaPixels – do not count against your storage quota.


  13. Thank you for a wonderful article. I have a problem with dropbox: it imports photos and videos too slow. Is there any better way to import photos from ipads, iphones? And I also noticed a different in capacity between copying folders directly from iphones and importing via dropbox. Do you know the reason for it?


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