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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Using Picasa and Google Photos Together

imageby Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

This is what I do now: All my photos collect in the cloud with Google Photos, I make albums of my best photos there, then I download those albums to my computer so I have them in Picasa for safekeeping, collages, text on photos etc. Picasa can Upload to Google Photos, creating an album of photos online. Picasa can also download Albums from Google photos online, creating folders of pictures on your computer that can even synchronize with the cloud.

To upload from Picasa on your computer to Google Photos

  1. Select the photos you want to upload. You’ll see them in the selection tray in the lower left.
  2. Click the Green “Upload to Google Photos” button, log in to your Google account if necessary
    image
  3. Select an existing Album, or click the New button and enter a new album name
  4. Choose a size: Original or Best for Sharing
    We recommend Original – this will count against your storage allotment, but you can recover that space later. Selecting Best for Sharing will reduce the resolution of your photos to 2048 px.
  5. Click Upload

To Download from Google Photos to your Computer and Picasa

  1. Click the File menu and Import from Google Photos
  2. Selecting “Import All Albums” will do just that, or clicking on “Import Selected Albums” allows you to specify
  3. These downloaded albums will create folders on your hard drive under the Pictures folder. They will show up in Picasa in the “Web Albums” collection below Folders
  4. In addition to downloading your photos to a folder, you can click the “Sync to Web” button so that any new photos added to the album will be added to the computer. So, you can make a collage using Picasa, then add that collage to the Synced folder and it will be uploaded to
    image

A major advantage to this method of downloading is that captions are preserved! If you added descriptions using Google Photos – those descriptions show up as captions in Picasa. This is not true when you use Google Photos download command. There is also one drawback to this method – Picasa will only download pictures that are not already on your computer. So, if some of these pictures in the Google Photos album started out on your computer, then the album download will create a folder that is missing those pictures. You can avoid this either by always uploading to the cloud first, and just downloading albums. Or, by using folder manager to limit what Picasa is seeing from your computer – fooling it, if you will, into not knowing that those photos already exist.

I use this method all the time to incorporate Picasa into my photo workflow. I gather all my pictures in the cloud with Google Photos – thousands of them – then I download just the best, the ones in albums.

For Geeks on Tour Premium Members

Here are some tutorial videos related to this subject. If you’re not a member, you can join here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Photo Albums Using Google Photos

I have roughly 50,000 photos collected online using Google Photos.

image

Wanna watch my slideshow? I’ll bet not! You’d need a few days of uninterrupted time, and several buckets of popcorn!

No, I want to select just my best pictures and put them in Albums. Then I’ll share my Albums with you.

image

How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Mobile Device

I do still use a computer, but more and more, it’s my phone that I use to view pictures. It’s nice that I don’t have to use a computer in order to organize my photos into albums. It also doesn’t matter if I use my Samsung Galaxy phone, my iPhone, or my iPad. All of these devices can run the Google Photos app, and they’ll all be looking at my same library of photos.

  1. Select one or more pictures: LongPress on one picture and it will be selected and open up a selection ‘button’ for all your other pictures. Any further pictures you tap on will be added to the selection. You can also select a group all at once by long-pressing on the first and drag thru the rest of the group.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right. This opens up your options to create a new Album (or Movie, Animation, Collage) or Add to an Existing one. You need to scroll down to see the Existing Albums.
  3. If you choose Create New Album – you will be prompted for an Album Name. If you do nothing here, it will be named “Untitled”
  4. Done!

If you make an album by accident, you can delete it by tapping on the 3-dot menu in upper right and choose Delete Album. Note that the album needs to be selected first.

How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Computer

Realize when you’re viewing your Google Photos on a computer (photos.google.com) you’re looking at the same 50,000 pictures as you are when you use a phone. Any albums you create using the phone will be viewable using the computer – and vice versa.

  1. Select one or more pictures. When you hover your mouse over a photo, you will see a selection button (round checkmark) appear in the upper left corner – click that to select one photo. Click the select button on further photos to add to the selection. You will see a count of how many photos are selected in the blue bar that appears at the top of your screen. To select a group of photos use the standard procedure of clicking on the first picture, then holding the shift key down when you click on the last picture in the group.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right of screen and select Album (as opposed to Shared, Animation, or Collage)
  3. Next you have the option to make a New album or add to Existing
  4. If you chose New – you will be prompted for an Album name
  5. Done

If you upload photos from your computer to Google Photos, you will have the option to add all photos just uploaded to an album. See this demo we did in Episode 77 of our “What Does This Button Do?” on uploading from computer directly to an album.

How to Make a Google Photos Album using Picasa

If you’re accustomed to using Picasa to make your Web Albums – nothing has changed.

  1. Select the photos you want to upload to an Album
  2. Click the Green Button at the bottom “Upload to Google Photos”
  3. Choose an existing album from the drop-down list, or Click New to make a new album and give it a name.
  4. For size – we recommend the “Original Size” setting. This will initially count against your Google storage allotment rather than free, but you can use the “Recover Storage” feature later to convert the photos to “High Quality.”

So there you have it! The best of both worlds. All 50,000 photos stored safely, for your eyes only, in your Google Account. And, the best photos available in albums so you don’t have to go slogging thru all the riff-raff. If you want to share, use the share button on an album!

If you are a Premium Member of Geeks on Tour, here are some tutorial videos you should watch:

What Does This Button Do?

Geeks on Tour presents a Free Weekly Web Class all about learning to use smartphones and tablets. We have focused on Google Photos for several of these shows, each one is 40-60 minutes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Google Photos vs. Apple’s iCloud Photo Library

Apple-GoogleIf you use an iPhone, you are in the Apple world, and it seems logical to use the Apple photo solutions: Apple Photos and iCloud Photo Library. But, you also have the option to use the Google solution called Google Photos.

Have you been getting frustrated with constant messages by Apple that your iPhone is FULL, or that you need to buy more iCloud space?  Or are you simply confused about how your iPhone works with iCloud and your Mac or PC computer? Then you owe it to yourself to take a look at Google Photos. And, if you have an Android device, Google Photos is the logical choice.

I am a Google fan-girl, and I use Google Photos for all my photos. I use an Android phone and Windows computer. I also have an iPad, an iPhone, and a Mac computer so that I can test how things work and be able to help people who use the Apple ecosystem. After using Google Photos for the year since it was released, and exploring the Apple iCloud system throughout that time, I think I’ve come up with the fundamental differences. First let me tell you how they are alike, and a little about how they work.

The Common Purpose

Both Google Photos and Apple’s iCloud Photo Library (different from Photo Stream) will store all of your photos online (aka “in the Cloud”) and allow you to view them all using a mobile device or computer. Both of them will automatically upload photos taken by your phone (or tablet) to your account online. Once all your photos are collected online, you can view them by going to a website (photos.google.com or iCloud.com) or using an App on your mobile device. Both Apple’s App and Google’s App are called “Photos.”

But that’s where the similarities end.

The Fundamental Differences

  1. Devices Supported:
    Apple’s iCloud supports iOS, Mac, and PC, but not Android.
    Google Photos supports iOS, Mac, PC, and Android. So, if you have an Android device that you use to take pictures, Apple’s iCloud solution is off the table.
  2. Deleting Photos from Device:
    Apple’s iCloud Photo Library cannot delete from device. If you delete a photo from any device using iCloud Photo Library it is deleted from every other device. There is one exception – if you have installed iCloud Photo Library on your Windows computer, it will receive all new photos added, but will not remove photos deleted from elsewhere. In other words, there is no “Sync’ing” with iCloud photos on Windows after the initial download of the photos.
    Google Photos allows you to delete photos from the mobile device that took the picture, while leaving the photo available in the Cloud.
  3. Basic Cloud Philosophy:
    Apple: Apple uses the Cloud as a service to keep devices in sync. You can see the photos by going to iCloud.com, but you can’t do anything with them there.
    Google: Google uses the Cloud as the end game. It is where all our our photos collect and live forever. You can edit and create with them there.
  4. Original vs. Compressed File Size:
    Apple Apple uploads your original size photo and allows you to shrink the copy left on your phone.
    Google Google allows you to shrink the photo that is uploaded and leaves the copy on your phone untouched. You can then delete the phone copy to free up space.
    I prefer Google’s method since it takes less bandwidth to upload smaller photos online. It also means that your web photos will be faster to view and use. Google’s compressed size is called “High Quality” and it maintains up to 16 Megapixels of photo quality while compressing the file size by about half. These are plenty good enough quality for family memories, you can print a good 8X10. If I really want to keep the original, I can use another method to copy my original photos. Either another cloud service like OneDrive, DropBox, or Amazon, or use a USB cable and copy the photos to my computer.
  5. Cost:
    Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage space. That fills up quickly with full size photos. For only $1/mo you can purchase 50GB more. That is certainly cheap enough – I don’t mind pay the $1, what I mind is having to pay attention!
    Google gives you unlimited Free storage for photos IF you use the “High Quality” size discussed in #4 above. The High Quality unlimited free option is our recommendation. If you choose to upload your original quality photos, they will count against your 15GB of free Google storage. To buy more, is $1.99/mo for 100GB.
  6. Sync with Computer
    Apple iCloud
    sees your Mac computer as another sync’ed device as long as you have iCloud Photo Library turned on. Add a photo from any device and it adds to every other one, delete a photo from any device and it deletes from all. The Photos App has a version that runs on the Mac - so your Mac computer is like a mobile device in the way Photos works. You can, however specify original sized photos to be used on the Mac. Windows computers have a version of iCloud Photo Library which will download the pictures, but there is no Windows version of the Photos app, so there is no synchronizing.
    Google Photos only sees computers as a source of photos, computers are not sync’ed devices. You can upload photos from a Computer to the Google Photos library in the Cloud, but the connection ends there. Deleting from the library or from the computer will not delete from the other. Editing a photo on either side will not update to the other. You can also download photos from your online library to your computer. If you use Picasa on your computer, you can download Albums from Google Photos, you can also use Picasa’s Sync tool to keep them synchronized.

Moving to Google Photos

If you agree with me that Google is the better option, the next question is: How do I get my pictures from Apple’s iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos? You can Install the Google Photos App on your iPhone or iPad and turn on Backup and Sync. Assuming you have iCloud Photo Library turned on, this will upload your complete iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos. It starts with your earliest photos and works its way to the present. In my test it was able to upload 400-500 photos per hour. Of course, your mileage may vary especially depending on your Internet connection speed!

I question, however, if using your mobile device is the best way. If you have your iCloud Photo Library set to “Optimize iPhone Storage” then you might be letting Google Photos upload reduced size photo files. And Google Photos is adding its own compression as well. When I experimented with this procedure, the photos did not seem to be extra small. They looked fine. Some were 600K, but some were 2MB. I have no way to definitively know what is happening here. But, if you can, it would be better to upload from a Mac’s Photo Library where the iCloud setting is for Original size rather than optimized.

If you are a Geeks On Tour member, we have a full series of tutorial videos on Google Photos. Here are the videos for just getting started. Notice that there are a few labeled *Free, meaning you don’t need a membership to watch them.