Photo Captions using Google Photos vs. Picasa

imagePicasa has many features that Google Photos does not. The most important feature, for me, is captions. Picasa can add captions to your photos that are stored with the picture file itself and can be viewed by other software. I love captions. At a glance, I can see which photos I’ve identified as the best because I only add captions to my best. I also see, at a glance what the picture is about – SO important for aging memories! Even more for aging pictures! If you are a Geeks on Tour premium member, you can watch this video about using Captions in Picasa: Add Captions to your Photos #154 If you don’t see captions below your pictures in Picasa, turn them on with the following command: View->Thumbnail Caption->Caption.

Picasa Makes Captions that Show Up and Stick with the Picture

Remember that Picasa is viewing pictures on my computer. All of these pictures in the screenshot above are on my computer and the captions are stored in the metadata of the .jpg picture itself. So, if you use any method to transfer this picture to somewhere else, the caption goes with it. Whether or not the recipient will see that caption depends on what software they are using to view it, but I guarantee that the caption is encapsulated in the picture file. For example, if you use Picasa’s tool to “Upload to Google Photos,” the caption does go with it, but it doesn’t show up easily. It is available for searching in Google Photos.

To see the text associated with a photo in Google Photos, you need to click the i-for Information.

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Google Photos Makes Descriptions that are Hidden and are Lost in Transfer

If you are using Google Photos, then this text is referred to as “Description.” For any photo in Google Photos, you can click the I for Info and you will see a field for “Description.” Type whatever you want in there and that description will stick with the picture as long as you are using Google Photos, but, if you download that picture to your computer – the description is lost. Google Photo’s Description text is stored in some kind of database associated with Google Photos rather than in the metadata of the picture itself.

Ask Google for this New Feature

Captions are extremely important to me, and I hope you agree enough to voice your opinion directly to the good folks at Google. Google Photos is being upgraded all the time, and they listen to the requests of users if you use the proper channels. Having lots of people request the same feature is like taking a vote. The more ‘votes’ a feature gets, the more likely it is that Google will take action. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to your Google Photos (on Web, or Android, or iOS)
  2. Click the 3-line menu (upper left of screen)
  3. Choose “Send Feedback” and leave your request. You can copy what I wrote if you like:
    Please add true captions to photos. The current “description” is lost when I download the photo to my computer. It needs to be written to the metadata of the .jpg file.  I would also like captions to appear under the photos in library or slideshow view. 
    Click NEXT 
  4. Next comes a step where you can add a screenshot to your feedback. However, in this case, you cannot see the Info part of the screen while you’re in the Feedback tool, so this step will make no sense. It will capture whatever is on your screen and send it in with your feedback. You can use the option to blackout any personal information if necessary.
    Click NEXT

  5. To clarify the unrelated screenshot, I added this text to my feedback:
    I could not get an appropriate screenshot, because you can’t click on a picture and go into i for Information while using Feedback.

  6. Click Submit

  7. Get everyone you know to do the same! And maybe we’ll see a caption update someday soon.

A Workaround to see Descriptions

If you’ve been using Picasa for a few years, you remember the online sharing feature called Picasa Web Albums. When Picasa first started uploading pictures to the web – into your Google account – it used this interface called Picasa Web Albums. That interface is still there. It accesses the same set of photos that you see with Google Photos, but it uses different (older) programming – and, therefore has different features. One thing it has is visible captions. If you use Google Photos and the Description field to type some text on all the pictures in an album, for example, you can view a slideshow of that album using Picasa Web Albums (www.picasaweb.google.com) and you will see the Descriptions show up as an overlay at the bottom of the pictures. Nice! But, if you then download any of those photos – you still lose the Description – so, this is only solves half the problem. Having Captions or Descriptions or Titles that stay with the picture is my primary need.

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