Teaching Picasa to your Computer Club or Photo Group

Computer Clubs are great ways to learn! We wanted to share with you how Google+ Hangouts on Air allows us to present a seminar remotely and then automatically have it recorded as a Youtube video.

As we travel the country in our RV, we often pass thru the corner of Iowa/Illinois referred to as the Quad Cities and we’ll give a live presentation to the Quad Cities Computer Society. We were there in June and presented a seminar we call “What is Cloud Computing” to the general meeting of the whole club. The people involved in the digital photography  SIG (special interest group) then wanted to know – “How do we use the Cloud for our photos with Picasa?” So we agreed to give a follow up seminar to their next monthly meeting where we would answer questions. The problem is that we would be a couple thousand miles away by then! So, we used Google+ Hangouts on Air to do the presentation. Since it is recorded, we can also share it with you! If you are interested in a Geeks on Tour presentation to your club, use the Contact Us form.

To watch the entire presentation will take you about an hour. I have gone thru it and marked the places where certain topics start so you can click on those links and get straight to the point.

  1. Watch the seminar starting at the beginning (well, actually, this starts after the few minutes of technical difficulties with sound.)
    image
  2. Start at 7m22s:  Using Dropbox Camera Uploads
  3. Start at 15m37s: Autobackup Discussion
  4. Start at 29m38s: Question about Ordering Prints
  5. Start at 38m29s: Question about Making Movies with PIctures and Music
  6. Start at 43m16s: Question about Resizing Pictures
  7. Start at 56m23s: Demo of Picasa Web Albums vs. Google+ Photos

 

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.

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Viewing Pictures on a Map

We take hundreds of pictures every month and, since we live in an RV, we are constantly traveling. I might look at this picture and have no idea where we were when it was taken. If I’m lucky, the photo includes location information, then Picasa, or Google+ Photos can display the picture on a map:

I may not remember where this picture was taken just by looking at it.
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If the photo contains location information (GPS latitude/longitude) then Picasa can show me a map
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How does a Picture get Geotagged?

If your camera is equipped with a GPS, there is a setting that allows the camera to tag pictures with that location information. This is most common with smartphone cameras. For example, on my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, when I’m using the camera, I can tap the gear icon for Settings, find the Location setting and turn it on. If that setting is on, then you will be able to view the picture’s location on a map using Picasa, or Google+ Photos.  You need to check this setting often because when you turn off your phone’s GPS, this setting also turns off and you need to manually turn it back on. If your camera does not geotag for you, you can use Picasa to manually set the location information using the Places Pane. (Geeks on Tour members can view the tutorial video on Geotagging)

2014-07-18 15.15.21

2014-07-18_9-27-41When this picture is imported to your computer and you see it in Picasa’s library, you will notice a red location marker icon in the lower right image. When you see that icon showing on a picture’s thumbnail, it means you can click the same icon in the lower right of Picasa’s screen and the Places Pane will open at the right of your screen. The map that shows here is Google Maps and it comes from the Internet, so this will only work if your computer is online.

When you share your picture to Google+ online, you can click on the picture, click on ”Photo Details” at the right and see a map. If Location data is not stored with the picture, you will see a link to “Add a Location” then you can manually drop a pin on a map to indicate the location of the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picasa Web Albums Map View

Picasa Web Albums still has the best way of viewing pictures on a map. To get to your uploaded pictures and view them with the old Picasa Web Albums interface, use this link: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1 Now you’re viewing the same albums as with Google+ Photos, but with the older Picasa Web Albums tools. When you click on an album and look to the right, you should see a map image called “Photo Locations.” There is a link below the map to “View Map” which will show you a map with the pictures showing as little thumbnails right in place on the map.

I love it!

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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, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Pictures at Your Fingertips with Google+ Photos

imageIf you’ve been using Picasa Web Albums (PWA) for your online photo albums, you should install the Google+ App on your Apple or Android mobile device. Picasa Web Albums was made and owned by Google you see – they have now updated the technology and re-branded it as Google+ Photos, pronounced Google “Plus” Photos. By uploading your pictures to Google+ Photos OR Picasa Web Albums, and using the Google+ App on your phone or tablet, you will be able to view all the photos from your online albums using your mobile device.

People are always pulling out their smartphone to show friends pictures these days, but usually, those pictures are ones they took with that very same smartphone. Using the Google+ App, you’ll be able to show pictures taken with many different cameras if you’ve uploaded them to your Google account using Picasa.

The Logo for Picasa Web Albums
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The Logo for Google+ Photos
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Old icon
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New icon
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Any photos that you have uploaded to Picasa Web Albums OR Google+, are now viewable on Google+ Photos. To see your Google+ Photos albums on your smartphone or tablet, you need to install the Google+ App. There’s a lot more to Google+ than just photos, so you need to know how to navigate to your photo albums.

Google+ App

Photos is just a part of what the Google+ App offers. It includes a social network, and several communication tools (text messaging/phone calling/video teleconferencing), in addition to the photo library. When you first launch Google+ you will looking at the social network – kind of like Facebook. To see your photos, you need to use the menu. On smartphones and tablets, you should see 3 horizontal lines – they may be be very small – in the upper right corner. Click that to reveal the Google+ Menu. If you don’t see the 3 lines, see if your device has a menu button on the device itself.

g photos

Google+ on Phone

g photos-phone

 

Once you are in the Google+ Photos, there is another menu to let you see All your pictures, Highlights of your pictures, Auto-Awesome pictures (that Google+ created from your pictures) or Albums. If you want to see the pictures you have uploaded, in the way you uploaded them, choose Albums.

g photo-albums

You will now see, on your mobile device, the same albums that you can see using your computer. On the computer,Albums are under the More menu. Then to see the pictures, click on an Album.

g photos-computer

Benefits of using Google+ Photos over other photo sharing services:

  1. Unlimited photo storage for FREE. All you need is to have a Google Account and to agree to upload photos at no more than 2048 pixels. This is the size that Google calls “Best for Sharing.” I have over 26,000 pictures online in my Google+ account, and I don’t pay a penny.
  2. Photos are beautifully displayed in a collage-like layout, or with full screen slideshows.
  3. Integrated with Picasa software on your computer, so uploading pictures to Google+ Photos is single-click easy.
  4. Using the Google+ Photos App, you have your pictures at your fingertips with whatever device is at hand.

I met some new friends in the RV park last week and they started talking about offbeat places they’ve traveled by RV. I was able to pull up pictures of my choice – a Stonehenge replica on the Columbia River in Washington state – and display them on the phone as I told them about this cool spot. Because I had the Google+ App on my phone, I could easily search my photos for ‘Stonehenge’ and find those pictures from August of 2010. If you’re a photo-holic like me, that’s just priceless!

App Name: Google+
Author: Google
Price: Free
Available for: iPhone/iPad, Android phone/tablets

Picasa Tip: Smile! It’s Auto-Awesome

If you upload 2 or more pictures of the same group of people to Google+, the Auto-Awesome feature will create a composite picture with the best smiles.  Here are two pictures I took of our friends David and Lynn when they visited us in our motorhome:

Original Photo #1
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Original Photo #2
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Google+ Photos Creates a New Picture with the Best Smiles

You don’t have to do a thing other than upload the original pictures to your Google+ account and, if you have Auto Backup turned on, you don’t even need to do that.  The next time you view your photos on Google+, be sure to check the Auto-Awesome group and you may get a pleasant surprise!

Auto Awesome Smile! Picture Created by Google+ Photos:

smile

Step-by-Step Instructions

In case you’ve never used Google+ photos, or never seen the Auto Awesome pictures it creates, here’s the details:

  1. You must have a Google account that has joined Google+.  If your Google account is less than a year old, it was automatically part of Google+.  If you’ve had your account longer than that, you have probably seen many messages giving you the opportunity to join Google+.  In order to take advantage of the many features of Google+ photos, you do need to join Google+.
  2. Using Picasa on your computer, select the pictures you want to upload and click the “Share on Google+” button.  It doesn’t matter what album you upload them to, all photos in your Google+ photo library (public or private) are candidates for Auto Awesome.
  3. Visit your Google+ photo albums at www.plus.google.com, click on Home, then photos
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  4. While viewing your photo albums, click More then Auto-Awesome
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  5. You should now be seeing all the Auto-Awesome pictures that have been created from your pictures.  You can tell what type of Auto Awesome was used by reading the starred words in the upper right corner.  These pictures are private, only you can see them unless you Share or Add to Album (under More menu) that is already shared.
  6. To read more about Auto Awesome see Google’s Help Page on Auto Awesome

 

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.

Using Picasa for Blogger Pictures

blogthisThere are lots of posts on Picasa’s official support forum from people upset that the “Blog This!” feature of Picasa is no longer working.  That doesn’t bother me at all.  Even though I’ve kept a Blogger.com blog since 2003, and used Picasa for almost as long, I’ve never used the BlogThis! feature to get my pictures from Picasa to Blogger.

Here’s how I do it

  1. Upload from Picasa to a named Web Album in Google+ Photos (what used to be called Picasa Web Albums)
    picasa-sharealbum
  2. From Blogger, use the “Insert Image” button and choose “From Picasa Web Albums”  Find the ‘Devils Tower Album’ and select the pictures
    blog-album

 

Don’t Delete the Web Album

When you do it this way, you are very aware that your picture is coming from your web album.  So, maybe you won’t make the mistake of deleting that album from Google Plus.  Many people don’t realize that their Blogger pictures are actually stored in your Picasa Web Albums (now Google Plus Photo Albums.)  If you used the BlogThis! button (when it used to work) your pictures were stored in a Web Album named the same as your Blog.  If you delete (or even rename) that album from Google Plus Photo Albums, you have deleted the picture that was showing in your Blog. 

photo-missing

All your Best Pictures are in the Web Album

Sometimes I’m not interested in scrolling thru all the text on my Blog, I just want to look at all the pictures I took.  In our RVing lifestyle, we’re taking pictures all the time, so I upload the best ones into albums by month.  Sometimes a special event like ‘Cruise to Alaska’ deserves an album all its own, but normally I have an album for each month.  In a month where we traveled a lot, I might have 1-200 pictures, like last September when we started the month in Nevada and ended in Florida.  If you click the link you will see all my pictures for that month.  You can even click on one picture to see it full screen, then click on the option for Slide Show.  Some friends might not want to read all the text in your Blog, but they love browsing thru your pictures.

Only the Pictures Needed to Tell the Story go in the Blog

In that same month – September 2013, I wrote 6 blog posts and used 68 of the pictures from the Web Album.  So, I have my choice of just looking at pictures: 157 pictures in the September 2013 Web Album; OR reading the Blog posts that include 68 of those exact same pictures.

Tutorial Videos

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch tutorial videos on this topic:

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, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Your Pictures on a Timeline

You’re probably accustomed to seeing your picture folders in date order at the left navigation bar in Picasa, but did you know you can view the photos themselves on a timeline?  While in library view, use the View menu and select Timeline and you’ll see something like this:

timeline

In a very condensed format, you can see the complete range of dates for your pictures.  In my sample case the earliest date shows as November 1936.  These are scanned photos where I manually set the date!  And the latest date is March 2014.  Simply drag the slider and you can see thumbnails of pictures from folders in every date in between.  Then, you have choices of playing a slide show by double-clicking on a folder,  or going back to your library with the button, or by pressing Esc.  You will be dropped off in the library viewing pictures from the time that was last selected in the timeline.

Google+ Photos now has a Timeline

If you have been uploading your pictures to Picasa Web Albums, or Google+ Photos (it’s the same set of albums – just different interfaces) you now can find pictures by date there too.  To get to your photos in Google+, browse to https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos and login.  This only works in “Highlight” view. At the right side of your screen, you should see an icon of the current month .  Just hover your mouse over that and it will open up a complete calendar of Years and Months for all the photos you have ever uploaded.  Click on any year/month combination and you will be taken to the highlight of photos from that month.

g photos-calendar

 

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.

Picasa Tip: Emailing Pictures – Don’t Make it Difficult

Picasa's Email button

I’ve heard of people going to great lengths to prepare and email a picture.  First they (1) edit it and save the changes, then they (2)export it to get a smaller size, then they (3) open their email program and use the attach feature, having to (4) hunt thru their folders to find the exported picture(s) to attach.  Finally, they write their email, address it and send it.

NO, NO, NO

Picasa has an Email Button!

One click of the email button takes care of all 4 steps mentioned above.  Take a look down at the bottom of PIcasa’s screen and you’ll see the Email button.  All you have to do is select the picture(s) you want to email, click the email button, then compose your email and send it.  In the image above, you should see 4 pictures in the selection tray.  When you click the Email button all 4 images will be sent in their edited form and resized according to your settings.  What settings?  The ones you’ll find at Tools->Options->Email (Windows) and Picasa->Preferences->Email (Mac.)

Picasa Email preferences

 

Picasa is not an Email Program

When you use Picasa’s email button, it opens the email program you specify.  Either the default email program that is installed on your computer, or Gmail.  We recommend Gmail, since both Picasa and Gmail are Google products, they work together very well.  If you prefer not to use an @gmail.com address, you can set Gmail to ‘Send mail as’ another address.  If you want to use your computer’s email program and it’s not coming up automatically, here’s the Official Picasa Help on setting up your default email program.

Don’t Email … Share

Last, but not least, we recommend that you not email pictures at all!  If you send me 20 pictures of your latest vacation via email, what am I supposed to do with them?  I’d rather you sent me a link to where I can view them online any time I want without them filling up my Inbox.  So, use the Share button to upload to Picasa Web Albums or Google+, or Export to your Dropbox/Photos if you have a Dropbox account.

For our Geeks on Tour members, we have some videos you should watch:

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 using your smartphone, 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.