Upgrading to Picasa 3.9

To upgrade, or not to upgrade, is that your question?  There are definitely some features worth upgrading for!  And that is what I’ll talk about in this article.  However, your pictures are precious, and any upgrade can have it’s problems on some people’s computers so what do you do first? 

You better know the answer to this question! 

BACKUP!  BACKUP! BACKUP!

Already have a good backup of all your pictures?  Ok, let’s go.  You might be able to upgrade by clicking on Help and Check for Updates but more often than not, this won’t inform you about new versions.  If it reports that ‘This application is up to date’ you can still update to version 3.9 by going to the website at www.picasa.google.com and click the big “Download Picasa” button.  Follow the instructions to download, then install or Run.  Be prepared to wait a bit, this is a bigger file than past versions.  I found that the Run process took an abnormally long time and it had no progress bar showing – so, just be patient, it will finally pop up with the license agreement and, after you click ‘I agree’ and Ok the folder location, you’re almost done.

Cool New Effects

In my last article about Picasa 3.9 I mentioned the differences in your opening screen, this time I want you to take a look at the effects.  There are two more tabs-worth of effects.  As usual with Picasa, they are simple click and maybe drag a slider bar or two to try them out.  If you don’t like the effect, you can always Undo.

Lomo-ish
lomo

The Lomo-ish effect looks more rich, vibrant and focused on the center while the edges are dark.  If you read about Lomography you’ll find that it’s film photography with an old toy camera! 

HDR-ish
stone

The HDR-ish (High Dynamic Range) effect is kind of like Sharpen on steroids. In fact, I find that I need to move the sliders all toward the middle to lessen the effect a bit. But, I really do like the sharpness and contrast that HDR-ish can give. The picture on the left is my original, the right has added HDR-ish effect.

Orton-ish
ortonish

This look comes from a slide-sandwich technique devised by Michael Orton.  In addition to adding depth and richness to the photo, there’s some dreamy, blurring going on.

Framing effects
frame

I think these are my favorite new effects.  The picture above demonstrates both ‘Vignette’ – the dark shadow around the edges, and ‘Museum Matte’ where you can define an inner and outer frame at specified width and color.  There is also ‘Polaroid’ which adds a thick white border, and a simple border or drop shadow.

There’s even more – too many to show you here.  Some of the effects are fun, but I doubt I’ll use them often, like Neon:

Neon:
neon

And, here’s one that I doubt I’ll ever use, but it might be a lifesaver for some folks – Invert colors can be used to make a negative be positive.

Invert Colors: Positive/Negative
invert

Side by Side Editing

All the above images come from using the new feature of side-by-side editing.  You can put one picture up on the screen twice and apply editing features to just one of them to see the difference.  You can also put two different pictures on the screen side by side.  Very easy, and very useful!

New Album Definitions

If you use Albums a lot, this might just be the one feature to make it worth upgrading!  In the past, I’ve had to caution users, and explain in depth how Albums are a Picasa-only feature.  If you copied your pictures to another computer without using PIcasa’s backup and restore, for example, you would lose your album definitions (not the pictures themselves – just the album groupings).  Now, in 3.9, album definitions are stored in the same picasa.ini file as all edits – right in the same folder with the pictures.  So, if you move a folder of pictures to another computer, then install Picasa, it will be able to read the album designations from the Picasa.ini file in the folder, and recreate your albums for you.  Woo Hoo!  One less thing to worry about.

What about Google Plus?

Some folks are distressed that, in version 3.9, Picasa Web Albums seems to be going away and in it’s place is Google Plus.  I have three things to say about that:

  1. Realize that Picasa Web Albums is on the web.  It is a companion to Picasa on your computer that you can choose to use or not. If all you do is use the Picasa software for managing the pictures on your computer, then the change from Picasa Web Albums to Google Plus Photos doesn’t affect you at all.
  2. If you do use Picasa Web Albums – which requires a Google account – and you’ve never linked your Google account to Google Plus, then nothing has changed for you.  When you click the ‘Share’ button you will be sharing on Picasa Web Albums.  Google will continue to encourage you to join Google Plus, but so far as I can tell, you can just say no.  I’m not sure how long this will be true, but if Picasa Web Albums does morph completely into Google Plus Photos, I doubt that sticking with an old version of the Picasa computer program will make a difference.
  3. Google is on the move and we can’t stop them – I can’t anyway.  It makes a lot of sense for Google to be rounding up their successful products like Picasa and Blogger and bringing them in under one company umbrella like Google Plus.  Google is giving us these amazing products for free, they deserve to have their brand on them. 

Go Ahead … Upgrade

So, my recommendation is to go ahead and upgrade to 3.9.  It has some cool new effects, and one really important change under the hood with Albums.  Things are changing with Picasa Web Albums, but you don’t have to participate if you don’t want.  Hey, you can even use Picasa and just share photos online with Facebook, or Flickr, or PhotoBucket.  But, if you go along with Google, you might even find you like Google Plus!

I’m still just hoping they improve the Folder/Collections sidebar!

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.

Advertisements

Picasa Web Albums for Business Website

Every business needs a website.  But many small, local businesses only need a one page business card type of website.  I was talking to a small business owner the other day and mentioned just that – they needed a website, but it didn’t have to be more than one page – “Just so people can get your phone number and address when they need it”, I said.  The owner replied, “But, I have so many different kinds of projects, he said, people need to see several examples so they know what I can do.”  “I can’t afford to pay someone to build that website, and I don’t know how to do it myself.”

If your projects, products, or services can be shown in a picture – I think Picasa web album is your answer.  Just get a web person to build you a simple, one page website (or you can do this yourself) and embed a slideshow from a web album where you’ll put the pictures.  Every time you add a new picture, it will show up on the slide show on your web page.  Don’t offer an item any more?  Just delete the picture from the web album and it will be gone from your web page.

Whatever you want to say about a product or service can be included in the caption of the picture.  You’d be surprised how much you’re allowed to type.  And, if someone looking at your web page clicks on the slideshow, they’ll be taken to your Web Album and see the pictures and captions full size.

Here is an embedded slideshow from a web album with pictures of the products and services that Geeks on Tour offers.

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

So, how do you get the slideshow into the web page?  By copying the embed code on the Picasa Web Album:

  1. Log in to your Picasa Web Album and open the album you want to embed.
  2. Click on ‘Link to this Album’ in the right sidebar
  3. From the options that open up, click Embed Slideshow
  4. You should now see a dialog box similar to the following
    image
    Make sure to check the box to Show captions, autoplay, and at least 400px in size.  The slideshow above is 600px.
  5. Copy the code from the yellow box
  6. Go to the HTML code for your web page and paste the code in where you want the slideshow to appear.

Now, any time you add, delete, or change a picture in that album – it will be reflected in the slide show on your web page.  No need to call your webmaster and pay for revisions, just use the free tools that Picasa and Picasa Web Albums provides!

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.

 

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Upload Photos to the Web (introduction to Picasa web albums

Keeping your Slideshow in a Specified Sort Order

Embedding Web Album Photos Elsewhere on the Web

Using Albums for Organizing 

Add Captions to your Photos

Adding Text to Pictures

Picasa Definitions: Upload, Download, Import

Words do matter.  If you ask a question and you use the term ‘Upload’ when the correct term is ‘Import’ you might not get the answer you were looking for!  I see this all the time.

In the Clouds

Let me give you an image that helps me remember the meaning of Upload and Download.  It is very useful to think of the Internet as existing in the clouds above the earth.  In reality, of course, the Internet is made up of lots of computers and cables here on the ground, but since they are accessible without regard to space or time, it’s as if the Internet is a parallel universe above the earth.  Thus the popular current terminology of ‘cloud computing’ simply means all the data your computer is accessing exists on the Internet instead of on your computer.  ‘On the Internet’ and ‘In the Clouds’ have become synonymous.  We also refer to this as Web-based.

image

Picasa Web Albums vs. Picasa

Picasa is software that exists on your computer and manages photo files on your computer.  Picasa Web Albums (PWA) is a photo-sharing website.  It exists on the Internet, the Web,  … in the clouds.  To ‘Upload’ means to copy from Picasa to Picasa Web Albums; to ‘Download’ means to copy from Picasa Web Albums to your computer.

image

The terms are not used just by Picasa.  In general computer terminology ‘Upload’ simply refers to a direction … from your computer to the Internet.  ‘Download’ refers to the other direction … from the Internet to your computer.  Even if all you’re doing is browsing the web, upload and download activity is taking place.  When you click a link, you are uploading a request to see something.  Images you view on your browser are downloading to your browser.

Import

Picasa’s Import command is what you use to copy pictures onto your computer from some external device.  That device is usually your camera, but it can also be a scanner, a USB drive, or even a folder on a CD or DVD.  When you insert a camera card into your computer’s card reader (or attach the camera with a cable to your computer) you probably see a popup dialog box asking if you want to ‘Copy pictures to your computer using Picasa.’  When you click on that you are using Picasa’s Import feature.

image

Import has nothing to do with the Internet.  Import is Picasa’s tool for copying pictures onto your computer from whatever device has the pictures.  You don’t even have to use Picasa’s Import tool if you don’t want to. For a long time, I preferred the import procedures on Canon’s ZoomBrowser.  I would use that software to get the pictures from my camera to my computer.  Once that was done, I would use Picasa to manage them.  As long as they were somewhere within the My Pictures, Picasa would see them as soon as I opened Picasa.

Import also has nothing to do with the relationship between Picasa and pictures that are already on your computer.  If you have pictures on your computer already and you’re not seeing them using Picasa, then you need to use the Folder Manager to make them show up.  If you use the Import command to find pictures already on your computer and then import them to another folder – you will now have duplicates!  Import = Copy.

Remember, Picasa does not store your pictures.  Your pictures are located on your computer, usually within the My Pictures folder, and Picasa sees them there.  The Folder Manager (Tools, Folder Manager) is where Picasa is told which folders to watch – aka ‘scan.’

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 Web Albums Basics

I want to know how to set up a Picasa account. What I want to do is have pictures of various occasions on my Picasa site and be able to let specific friends be able to view and download any pictures they would like. Is all this possible?

What you want is provided by Picasa Web Albums.  You can upload groups of pictures from your computer to Web Albums.  Each album will have whatever name you give it, and each album can be shared with the whole world, or just selected friends.

Step 1 – a Google Account

You will need a Google account in order to use Picasa Web Albums.  It is your Google account that identifies your photos as yours.  If you don’t already have a Google account, the easiest way to do that is to sign up for Gmail.  Gmail is Google’s free email system.  If you have a gmail account, that is also your Google account.

Step 2 – Upload your Pictures

Picasa Web Albums is located at www.Picasaweb.google.com.  Your web albums will be located at http://www.Picasaweb.google.com/youraccountname

So … if you have Picasa and you have a Google account, here’s how you upload a photo to Picasa Web Albums:

  • Select the photos you want to upload, you will see them in the selection tray – lower left
  • Click the upload button- The very first time you’ll be prompted to set up your web albums using your Google account, thereafter just be sure you’re logged in – upper right.

image

  • Review the name of web album or click New to , visibility of album, and upload size (medium is recommended)
  • Click Upload – all photos uploaded will now have a green arrow added to their thumbnail in the Library view

Public = the world can see your pictures

You’re done.  You should be able to go to http://www.picasaweb.google.com/youraccountname and see these photos.  And, as long as you selected ‘Public’ in the Visibility option, anyone else in the world can also see your photos at that location.  All you have to tell them is the web address: http://www.picasaweb.google.com/youraccountname.

image

Don’t want the world to see?

While viewing the Web Album in question, click on Edit / Album Properties.  here is where you can change the option for Visibility.  If you choose ‘Anyone with the link’ that means that people cannot stumble upon your pictures and they will not show up in any kind of search.  Only people that you send the link to will be able to see them.  If you choose private, then you get to list the specific people who have access and they must log in to their google accounts to prove they are the right people before being able to view your album.

Allowing people to download your pictures

Allowing viewers to download your pictures is another setting, but it is an overall setting for *all* your Web Albums.  It cannot be set one way for album 1 and another way for album 2.  You will find the setting in the upper right corner beside your login.  Click Settings, then click Privacy and Permissions.  You will see an option for “Allow any visitor to Download my Photos.”

Collaborate

A relatively new feature in Picasa Web Albums is the ability to collaborate.  That means you can share an album with a friend or family member and give them the ability to upload photos to the same album.  This is a great way to build a family photo album, or a club photo album.  It’s very easy to set up.  All you have to do is click the Share icon above any Picasa Web Album and make sure to check the box for, “Let people I share with contribute photos.”  See more about collaboration in Picasa’s Help Articles.

Show-Me-How Tutorial Video

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

 

Who took that Picture?

Do you and your travel partners both take pictures with different cameras?  If you import them all to your computer and view them with Picasa, you may want to know who took which picture.  It’s easy to do with Picasa’s picture properties panel.

We just returned from taking a cruise on Alaska’s Inside Passage.  It was a family trip with 7 people from our extended family.  Four of us were taking pictures.  I used a Canon Digital Rebel, and sometimes my Droid cellphone.  Jim used our Nikon Coolpix, and sometimes his Droid.  Debbie used a Fujifilm Finepix.  Jo Ellen used a Canon Powershot.  I collected all the pictures from Jim’s and my cameras, plus several from Debbie and Jo Ellen.

Picasa’s Information Panel

You can see all sorts of information about any given picture by using Picasa’s Properties panel – indicated by the i – for Information – in the lower right corner of the screen.  Click on any picture and then view the Properties panel by clicking on the i.

image

In the example above, you can see that this picture was taken with a Nikon Coolpix camera, which means that Jim took this one.  The sample below shows that the picture was taken with a Canon Digital Rebel, which means that I took it.

image

Search by Camera Type

What if you wanted to see all the photos taken with a particular camera?  That information is searchable.  To see all the pictures taken by our Droids, I just type Droid in the search box.  Now the only pictures I’m seeing are ones found with that search.  It will find all pictures with Droid in the properties, as well as any that have Droid as part of the caption, filename, or tag.

In my particular case, both Jim and I took some pictures with our Droids, so I also used the Tag feature to identify the ones taken by each of us, using a tag like ‘pix-by-jim.’

Photo Properties on Picasa Web Albums

I’ve uploaded some of our Alaska pictures to a Web Album, you can see them at 2010 Alaska Cruise.  Some of the properties that Picasa shows you are also viewable on Picasa Web Albums.  Just click on any picture, then click on the link for ‘more info’ over in the right sidebar.

GPS Properties

Notice the properties of Latitude and Longitude.  Any of the pictures taken with our Droid cell phones are automatically Geotagged with the Latitude and Longitude because the Droid also happens to be a GPS receiver!  All pictures that are geotagged will show up in the map on the right sidebar.

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Geotagging

Using Tags aka Keywords

Single Picture View

Searching for Pictures

Upload Photos to the Web

.

 

Do you use Picasa Web Albums?

Most all of the articles in this Picasa Tutorials blog are about the Picasa software that runs locally on your computer and manages your photos.  If you want to share your photos with family, friends, or the world, you can upload them from your computer to Picasa Web Albums.

[poll id=”2″]

Share your Pictures Using Picasa Web Albums

I think everyone who uses Picasa, should also use Picasa Web Albums.  No more printing, no more emailing.  If you’re connected to the Internet, Picasa makes it a single click to upload your selected photos to Picasa Web Albums.  Simply select the picture (or pictures) you want on your Web Album, and click the Upload button.  There is a little bit of one-time setup to establish your Google Web Album account, and there are some options with each upload.  Once you’re set up and have your options selected, each upload is really that easy … two clicks.

image

With your free Google account, you get 1 Gigabyte of free Picasa Web Albums space.  The number of pictures that will hold depend on the size of your uploads.  I use the middle size option (1024 pixels) and I have nearly 4,000 pictures uploaded over 3 1/2 years.  I still haven’t reached my free 1GB limit.  And, when I do, I’ll pay the $5/yr for 5 GB of space.

image

Don’t *Store* your Pictures on Picasa Web Albums

Some people seem to think that, just because they are using Picasa, their pictures are on the web and they can delete them from their computer.  There’s two things wrong with this thinking:

  1. Pictures only go to Picasa Web Albums if you manually Upload them, or set a folder to ‘Synchronize’ to the web.  None of this happens automatically.
  2. Even if you have uploaded all your photos to your Web Album, I wouldn’t trust the Web with my originals.  They should be on your computer, and backed up to Disk.
    see past article: Don’t Delete your Original Photos

Using Picasa Web Albums as a Backup?

If you use Picasa Web Albums (PWA) like I do – uploading the smaller sized picture – then it’s definitely not a good backup.  I don’t think PWA was ever designed to be a backup system for your photos, however, recent enhancements may make it possible.  You can now upload full-resolution pictures, and, with Synchronized folders – it will automatically upload all pictures in that folder.  This is going to take a *lot* more space, but for $5/5 GB – maybe that’s OK.  It looks to me like Google has future plans to convert PWA to a place where we keep our photos online … period.  With increased Internet speed, and cheap storage it becomes possible.

But, I don’t think it’s here yet.  If you should happen to lose the pictures on your computer – having them on PWA is certainly better than nothing, but I’d rather use something like Carbonitewhich is designed as an online backup system.

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

 

Picasa Tip: Error Emailing a Picture with Gmail

4/1/10 Note: this error has been fixed by the folks at Google.  The article is still worth a read to see how to find out what has been fixed or not, as well as how to use Web Albums to share your photos instead of emailing.

Several people this week told me they were having a problem when they tried to email a picture using Picasa’s email button and choosing ‘Gmail.’  So I tried it and, sure enough, I got the same error message:

image

I checked the PIcasa user forum and found that lots of people were having the same problem.  Google has acknowledged the problem.  They’ve been working on it and have now posted a notice that they’ve identified the problem and they know how to fix it.  The fix will be in the automatic Picasa updates that will be pushed out to all users starting next week (3/29/10.)  It’s always a good idea to check the Picasa ‘Known Issues’ page when you get an error so you know if it’s a problem they’re working on before you go to too much trouble trying to fix it yourself.

Meanwhile, here’s another way to share your photos.

Upload your photos to a Picasa Web Album. Once it’s there, you can view it in the Album, then click the ‘Share’ button.  You just address it like any other email, write a message and send.

image

Your friend who receives the email will see something like this:

image

They can see the thumbnail (small version) of the photo right in the email.  If they click on ‘View Photo’ that will take them to the photo on your Web Album.

I think this is a better way to share photos anyway.  What do you think?  Leave a comment.

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.

 

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.