If You Have Used Embedded Slideshows from Picasa Web Albums, You Need To Read This

Several years ago, I wrote about how to use Picasa Web Albums to create a slideshow that can be embedded into a web page. The slideshow was really sweet, but it used Flash to make it work and Flash has fallen out of favor in the web world, and simply doesn’t work in many situations. Today, July 1, 2016, your Picasa Web Albums embedded slideshow will still work, but on August 1 it won’t.

This:
https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Will turn into this:
Picasa Web Album Embedded Slideshow after 8-1-16

If you’re not sure if you’ve ever used the Picasa Web Albums embedded slideshow feature, then you probably haven’t. It was a pretty special/hidden feature. You had to go to Picasa Web Albums on a web browser, not the Picasa software on your computer. You had to know about the hidden command in the right sidebar, under “Link to this album” and then “Embed Slideshow.” That would present you with some HTML code that you had to copy and paste into the HTML code on your website or blog.

Picasa Web Album Embedded Slideshow command

On August 1, Your Slideshows will Disappear, What To Do?

The writing has been on the wall that this feature would disappear someday … that someday is here. If you have used this feature, it won’t work after August 1. Here is the official announcement. If you know where your embedded slideshows are, and you’re willing to put in the time, you might be happy with the Google Photos Animation feature to show those photos, or maybe the Google Photo movie feature.

Here’s a video I’ve made on how I’m using Google Photos Animations to replace the old Picasa Web Albums Embedded Slideshow feature.

 

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you might also want to view videos on making Movies:

imageChris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

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Picasa Web Albums Retires on May 1–What to Do?

(May 3 note : the May 1 date has come and gone and Picasa Web Albums is still accessible. That doesn’t mean they’ve changed their minds – it’s just taking a bit longer than expected. Also, please realize this article is about the website Picasa Web Albums – the desktop software – Picasa – was retired on March 15. See this article for more info.)

Picasa Web Albums has been around since 2006 – that’s 10 years! An eternity in computer time. Those of us who have been using it all these years hate to see it go. It has a unique set of features. But know that all your pictures are still there.

There is nothing you need to do, your pictures can be seen at photos.google.com

imageIf you just visit Photos.Google.com and log in with the same Google account you used for Picasa Web Albums, you will see all your pictures, but they will be in one big stream by date with the most recent on top. Just click on the button for Albums to see the same albums that you saw in Picasa Web Albums.

Although it may be unfamiliar at first, once you embrace Google Photos, I think you will love the new things you can do with your pictures.

Once you’re seeing the albums, you can scroll thru them, they’re in date order, or you can use the search box to look for them. Sorting by Album name is one of those features of Picasa Web Albums that have not yet made it to Google Photos.

My Public Web Albums as seen in Picasa Web Albums

image

In Picasa Web Albums the building block of the system is the album. The albums contain photos. Every photo is in an album. You could not upload a photo unless you knew what album you wanted it to go to.

My Albums seen on Photos.Google.com/Albums

Google Photos has a different philosophy. The basic building block is the individual photo. Photos can be grouped into Albums, but the albums themselves are not really objects. They have no properties of their own.

image

What is going away?

Picasa Web Albums had several features that have not made it to Google Photos. Note: this is my personal observation, not an official list. Please correct me if you see any errors or omissions in this list.

  1. Sorting albums by Album date, Upload date, or Album Title. Google Photos only sorts albums by date of most recent photo in the album.
  2. Album Properties: Album Date, Album Description, Album Location, Visibility: Public, Link, Only You. None of these properties exist for albums in Google Photos.
  3. Displaying a map with all geotagged pictures placed on map with the ability to alter the location.
  4. Captions: Displaying captions below thumbnails of photos, Caption screen where you can edit any/all photo captions from an album
  5. Slideshow – the ability to play a self–running slideshow complete with optional captions, as well as the ability to embed a slideshow on a web page. Google Photos can’t do either. **except on Android, you can play a self running slideshow with GP.
  6. Prints – the ability to directly order prints (cards, books, gifts) from selected providers such as Shutterfly, Walgreens, and more.
  7. Face Tags – the ability to manually identify people in your pictures. Although Google Photos automatically groups like faces, there is no provision for you to manually tag them if it misses one.
  8. Comments and Tags – the ability for people to follow your public albums and leave comments on pictures. Comments and Tags are not available in Google Photos.

What about my Links?

If you see a colorful photo above, that means that old Picasa Web Album photo URLs are still working!
If you see a colorful photo above, that means that old Picasa Web Album photo URLs are still working!

Since Picasa Web Albums have been around since 2006, there are many instances where I have posted links to those albums. I have been assured by my contacts at Google that these links will be OK. YAY!

Links to publicly available albums in Picasa Web Albums will continue to work.

To test it, here is a link to all my Public Picasa Web Albums. Here is a link to my 2015 December Cuba Trip album. And here is a link to a single photo of Jim and me. And the colorful photo at right is embedded with the URL from Picasa Web Albums.

Original Announcement

It was on February 12 that the announcement was made that Picasa Desktop Software would be retired on March 15, and Picasa Web Albums on May 1.   Read the complete announcement here.

Bottom Line: There is nothing for you to do except to be aware that this is happening. All your pictures and albums are available now in Google Photos. Any missing features we can hope that Google will be adding them to Google Photos over time.  Any missing data, such as comments and tags, will be made available in a new location yet to be announced. (https://get.google.com/albumarchive/) This will be an archive of Picasa Web Albums.

To add your request for favorite features, use the Google Photos menu and click on Help and Feedback. Although you won’t get any response, the folks at Google do read these feedbacks.

Google Photos Announcement–This is BIG

Google Photo LogoA few days ago, Google announced the latest incarnation of their online photo storage and sharing service, now called simply, Google Photos.

Before I tell you the good and the bad of this announcement, let me give you a little bit of history. In 2006, Google offered an online photo storage and sharing service called Picasa Web Albums (PWA.) It worked in tandem with the Picasa software on computers and it was quite popular. In 2012 Google started the Google+ (Plus) social network and they totally reprogrammed the photo storage and sharing service to integrate it with the social network. They called it Google+ Photos. Picasa Web Albums continued to exist. If you used either of these services, your uploaded photos were stored in the same place, as part of your Google account. You could work with your photos using either Picasa Web Albums or Google+ Photos. These were simply 2 interfaces to the same set of online photos, but since Google+ photos was newer, it was the default. Unless you used a very specific address to get to PWA (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1) you would be taken to Google+ Photos every time.

The Good

Now, in 2015, we have a third interface. The Google Photos that was announced this week. Why? Because Google is trying to get it right … and, of course, to hold on to that huge market segment of people who care about their photos! Google learns and evolves. They learned that people didn’t like to be forced into the Google+ social network in order to use the photo storage and sharing service. They learned that we all have way too many photos to manage them ourselves. In response, Google Photos is uncoupled from Google+ and it offers free UNlimited storage for photos in original resolution up to 16 megapixels.

This was posted by the folks at Google about Google+ and Google Photos:

…it’s become clear that while social networks are great for sharing images and video clips, they’re not where most people want to store all their private, personal photos and videos.
That’s one reason why Google has been hard at work building an entirely new photos experience from the ground up. One that works for the photos you want to share, as well as the ones you don’t.

Google Photos is a standalone app for Android and for Apple iOS, as well as a website – photos.google.com. These are all available now, for free. Probably the coolest new feature is found by using the Search feature. Tap the search icon (magnifying glass) in the mobile Apps, or click in the search field on the web. Instantly, you will see your photos categorized by People, Places, Things, and Types. I was amazed to see my pictures grouped under Things: Sky, Mountains, Flowers, Cars, Sunset, Boats, Kayaks, Caves, Camping, Lighthouses, and on and on. If I click (this view is private) on the picture labeled “Boats” I see lots of boat pictures that have collected in my photo library over many years. 

2015-05-30 20.25.12

I click on boats, and I see … boats, from luxury yachts, to

personal kayaks, to boat docks and more.

image

If you want to see your photos using Google Photos, there is no transfer necessary. It’s the same set of photos that you’ve been uploading all along. The ones uploaded to your Google account. Knowing your Google account is key. If you have more than one Google account, you need to pay attention to how you are logged in. If you want a master library of photos, you need to accumulate them under one account. Then you can see them using Google Photos, Google+ Photos, or even Picasa Web Albums. All three interfaces still exist so far.

The Bad

Lots of features are missing. Although it is easy to share pictures via email, facebook, and many other avenues, I see no way to simply make an album public. I am accustomed to giving a link to my photo library and anyone with that link can see all my albums that I have made public. So far, I have not found any command to do that in the new Google Photos. I also see no way, in the iPad app, or the website, to play a slide show of my pictures. The Android App plays a slideshow slick as can be, but you can’t see captions. The editing features that are built-in to Google Photos are very basic. For example, there is no way to add text to a picture, or to retouch a blemish. Picasa Web Albums is still the only interface of the three which offers to make an embeddable slideshow, it is also the only one that offers a way to get prints from your online photos, or view album photos on a map.

The Assistant is new and makes it drop-dead simple to create collages, animations, and stories – but if you don’t like what it creates you’re out of luck, no modifications allowed. And, it crashed on me a couple times trying to create Stories and Movies. I expect this will improve over time.

If you install either the Android or the Apple iOS App, pay close attention to the default setting to turn on “Backup and Sync.” This is ON by default. If you leave it that way, you will be transferring ALL photos from that device to the cloud. If those pictures are already there, you may end up with a lot of duplicates. If you pay for your Internet connection, it may get pricey!  Although the Apps give you an automatic way to upload every picture taken with your mobile devices to the online photo library, if you’re like me, you still want your master library on your computer and I see no way to do that easily. So I’m still going to use Dropbox to get the pictures from my mobile devices to my computer, then I’ll let Google’s AutoBackup take them from the computer to the online library.

The Unknown

What is going to happen to Picasa? They don’t say. I still think that Picasa is the best way to interface between your photo library on your computer, and the one online, so why would Google drop it? But, Google is living in the future, a future where there are no more computers, just mobile devices and online libraries. Even if they did discontinue it, the Picasa that you have on your computer will still keep working, but it will upload pictures at the old, lower resolution rather than the new higher resolution. I expect that they will keep Picasa around for a while to come. They do need to update it just to change that one button that now reads “Share on Google+.” It needs to read, “Upload to Google Photos” and it needs to upload at the higher resolution. When I see that update, I will be confident that Picasa will be around for quite a while.

Google Drive can also see the photos in your library. It is showing all recent pictures in folders by month. I like that, but I don’t understand why it is only showing recent photos and an occasional older photo. I had understood that Google Drive would be another interface to the complete library, but it is unknown how this is being implemented.

For lots more reading on the new Google Photos, try a Google search for #googlephotos. The video of the actual Google announcement is on this blog post by The Verge.

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.

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.

Picasa Tip: Are You Using Google+ Yet?

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: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1 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? 

I Can’t Get to my Picasa Web Albums!

slideshowI’ve written several articles in this PicasaTutorials website about the transition we are undergoing between Picasa Web Albums and Google Plus Photos.  Although Google + Photos has added many new features and is quite impressive these days, there is one feature it still lacks and that is the ability to embed a slideshow of your pictures into your blog post or website.

This previous post tells you how to use the Picasa Web Albums interface to embed a slideshow, but the problem is that when you try to go to www.PicasaWeb.Google.com (the address for your Picasa Web Albums,) you are automatically redirected to Google + Photos.  And, there is no command for embed slideshow anywhere to be found.

If you look carefully at your Google+ Photos screen, you will see a message to “Click here to go back to Picasa Web Albums.”  It does exactly what it says and deposits you at the Picasa Web Albums interface to all your pictures.  There you will find the ‘”Embed Slideshow” link as directed in this previous article.

If you don’t see that yellow box with the link, then try adding the no redirect option to your Picasa Web Album URL.  Just click here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos?noredirect=1

web-albums-slideshow

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.