An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to gostips@gmail.com.

February 1, 2010

Google's False Advertising

Google claims that you can store "up to 8,192,000 photos from a 5MP camera" if you buy 16 TB of storage. There's also a promotion that offers a free Eye-Fi card if you buy $50 or more of storage.


Apparently, you can't store 8,192,000 photos, at least not in Picasa Web Albums. Google's photo service has some strange limitations: a photo album can include up to 1,000 photos and a Picasa Web account can only have 1,000 albums. That means you'll be able to upload less than 1,000,000 photos, especially if you think that not all albums will include 1,000 photos.

Dave, a reader of this blog, is concerned: "Many people are upset that they purchased additional storage capacity from Google only to learn later that although they have plenty of free space, they have easily maxed out the 1000 files allowed by Google. Here is one of several threads on the Picasa help forum that discusses this issue. As someone who is/was considering purchasing extra storage space from Google in order to upload more pictures to Picasa Web Albums, I am a little concerned about this."

Of course, Google might say that the photos can also be stored using Google Docs or Gmail. Picasa Web Albums has to remove the limitations, improve photo uploading and the way you organize photos. Why do you have to upload photos to an album when Gmail and Google Docs use labels to organize messages and files?

{ Thanks, Dave. }

Update (February 28th): Google no longer shows the misleading message if you select 2 TB or more.

43 comments:

  1. I have to say, Picasa is the one Google service that confuses the hell out of me. It is just not very intuitive (for me) to use, especially after years of using Flickr.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What annoys me more than having to upload photos to an album is the fact that you have to give the album a certain date. I have certain albums of friends, family, etc. that aren't all from a particular time period. And I don't want to set them to the highest (or lowest) date possible just to keep them organized.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, this stupid "1000" limit must stop now :o !

    The feature I 'd like the most on Picasa/gmail is the possibility to view in Gmail the picture I choose for a contact in Picasa. ie : I choose the best picture for John on Picasa (already exists), then I want that when I view John in Gmail it shows me this picture... SIMPLE and so useful :) !!

    Josh : this is to organise your photos with a criteria. Nothing bad about that for me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They need to convert to a tag system instead of fixed albums. Save everything in one big bucket and convert albums into saved searches for tags. This change would be seamless for any Gmail user.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is such an embarrassment for Google in my opinion. We can only speculate why such a limit exists, but I'm glad it is getting some press. Google's methodology of releasing beta products and then improving them incrementally works most of the time, but their shared storage plan (and their advertisement in particular!) should not have passed QA with their current album limits.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This issue has been on Google Groups and elsewhere for ages, but Google simply does not do anything about it. Maybe they treat it as a problem of too few people. The truth these limits are the only reason I am thinking of migrating the lot out of Picasa despite all the extra storage I bought. How long should we wait for something so basic?!

    ReplyDelete
  7. ah.. then one more thing... you can only upload 5 pictures at a time... though there's a work around that limitations. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Not only is the headline misleading, but factually incorrect as is pointed out by the author himself within the posting. Why resort to his kind of sensationalism? Run out of facts? Slow news day? Adsense revenues off a bit? Trolling for clicks? You got mine. Sure the products are a bit confusing at times, but you've got to give Google credit...they aren't standing still and continue to roll out product features at a pace unmatched by any large company in the industry. Lighten up....

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Anonymous:

    1. If I remember correctly, the same message was displayed in December, even before Google Docs started to accept any file format.

    2. This page talks about Picasa Web Albums. "Purchase $50 or more of storage and get a free Eye-Fi wireless SDHC camera memory card to upload photos wirelessly to Picasa Web Albums." So you're supposed to upload photos to Picasa Web Albums,

    The same page says that you can buy 16 TB of storage and "store up to 8,192,000 photos from a 5MP camera". Unfortunately, Picasa Web Albums lets you store up to 1,000,000 photos.

    I think Google's info page is misleading. It tries to convince me to buy storage to upload my photos to Picasa Web Albums, but I can't use the storage as advertised.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Is someone really going to buy 16TB of space so they can store their 5MP photos on there? You're looking at the extreme.

    I do like the tag suggestions though. I gotta believe they'll get there soon, since they've got the person tagging going pretty well now.

    One more suggestion: Picasa is excellent at matching people's faces that it's identified in your photo collection - you'd think it could easily identify other artifacts for tagging like "dog", "cat", "spider monkey", etc.

    ReplyDelete
  11. magic 1000.
    Implement damn "cursors" in BigTable! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Don't you have enough? 1,000,000.

    How will you take 1,000,000 photos?

    24 hours day, 1 photo per minute, continuously for 2 years.

    By the way, I also regard that 16 TB is quite misleading thing, probably as the result of min-coordination between Google's departments.

    by Andy

    ReplyDelete
  13. I found this out the hard way as well. I just bought 200GB for free eye-fi and I was going to use Picasa as a back up of Flickr. I downloaded all my flickr photos into one folder. Started syncing and then saw it would only do 1000 photos. blows!

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Anonymous

    I am the "Dave" referenced in this article. My point is not that 1 million photos is not enough. I don't have 1 million photos - far from it. My issue, and I think the issue brought up on the Picasa forums, is with the arbitrary 1000 folder/album maximum imposed by Google, but not discussed when you go to the page that talks about purchasing additional storage space. As was mentioned above, Google forces you to use albums in Picasa Web Albums and then limits you to only 1000 albums for a paid account - no matter how much you are willing to pay for additional storage.

    I would gladly give Google my hard earned money for more storage space in order to use Picasa Web Albums to store and share my photos. However, I store my photos based upon certain dates when events took place. So during the course of any given year, if I took photos on, say, 200 days, I have 200 different files containing photos taken on those 200 days.

    If you have kids or are even an amateur photographer, you will go through 1000 files/albums in a very short period of time. I can only assume that the 1000 album limit is completely arbitrary. Why would Google impose such a limit when they are offering (and advertising!) people to purchase more space to back up and store everything?

    I like Picasa quite a bit. But if Google is going to impose a meaningless file/album limit even when I am willing to pay for more storage space, then I am going to use Flickr. I would greatly prefer to use Picasa, but for this silly file limit. I hope Google fixes what is a completely asinine issue on such an otherwise terrific service.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Most of you people are just wanking for the sake of wanking. This is pointless and stupid.

    If you have more than 1,000,000 photos, great, use a different service, but we all know, as does Google, that almost no one will ever reach either limit. In fact, Google would be wise to just remove the verbage of the limits, (not the limits them selves) because few of you will ever come close to it.

    As for adding albums to your Web Album, try the Picasa Desktop Client. It is by far the best way to manage your Albums.

    And finally, "Store up to 8,192,000 photos from a 5MP camera" is a statement on amount of storage capacity, NOT a claim that you can store that many Photos with the Picasa Service.

    It is for people like all of these guys that the world has to write warning labels on everything. Things like, "WARNING - This product moves when used" (on a Razor Scooter) or "WARNING - Do not eat iPod Shuffle" (found on Apple's website)

    You people make me sad to be human.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Entreprenerd - Dude. . . look at the post directly above yours. The issue is not 1 million pictures. It's 1000 total ALBUMS. And the album limit is not told to people at the point when they pay for additional storage space.

    Read the words, holmes.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's not just the limit they impose on the albums, it's also about the bandwidth limit. I have been trying to sync my offline albums with my Picasa Web Album and the process has not been smooth. I would get an error message every now and then telling me that I've exceed the maximum bandwidth limits. You can see several complains in the Help Forum already.

    It's clear that Google still isn't really equipped for cloud computer, or at least, they aren't allowing users to do so at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Google would do much more better for Picasa !

    ReplyDelete
  19. The idea of being tied to albums only is something they need to improve on Picasa

    ReplyDelete
  20. There is another hidden limit that you will hit after buying storage from google: you can only view the last 100 images of your last 30 albums if you are using a mobile device.

    See: http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=113107

    It is strange that I need to use the bing app on my iphone to browse all my pictures on picasaweb

    ReplyDelete
  21. the last time I have uploaded an album with a lot of photos, the limit was 500 not 1000 !!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have tested it again, the new limit is indeed 1000 photos.
    I think the problem is that album with 500 or more photos are slow as hell to open ...

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Entreprenerd:

    "And finally, 'Store up to 8,192,000 photos from a 5MP camera' is a statement on amount of storage capacity, NOT a claim that you can store that many Photos with the Picasa Service."

    Think about it, what will you expect when seeing this message while purchasing for Picasa Web Album storage?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I beleive that album limit is 500 for free accounts. If you pay for additional storage space the limit is 1000 albums. But why limit the albums (that you are forced to use) when people are willing to pay for extra storage space?

    So I could buy 100 GB of additional storage space but I would never be able to use 90 GB of what I bought because I am limited to 1000 albums? Ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The pricing scheme starting from 1TB is so geeky - $256, $512, $1024, $2048, and $4096. I guess everything's binary now.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have same problem with Picasa Web limit ... híc híc ...

    ReplyDelete
  27. Who has 1,000,000 photos? Seriously.. who does?

    ReplyDelete
  28. How is this different from Apple saying a 2GB iPod can hold 500 songs.. but you get home and it only holds 250 songs because all your songs are 8-10 minutes at 256kbps???

    Like someone said before this is about the storage capacity of 16TB... not a guarantee on how many photos you can or WOULD actually store. Obviously if you had a 5MP camera and all your photos were taken with all the highest settings it would decrease this number.. then what?

    ReplyDelete
  29. @ Fernando: Look at the article. Look at the comments. The issue is not a million photos. The issue is 1000 albums.

    Picasa requires you to use albums. They limit you to 1000 even if you pay Google a lot of money. Read the comments to understand the issue.

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Fernando: You don't seem to understand the problem judging by your iPod analogy, here would be a more fitting one:

    You buy a 2GB iPod that can, according to Apple, hold 500 songs. You have a music library of 500 mp3s, 3 MB each. After transfering 250 songs the iPod is full.

    So you would say this is acceptable? I don't think so.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Have to agree with Alex that the issue does constitute false advertising, and runs quite contrary to Google's motto of doing no evil.

    I am an amateur photographer and ran several times into a 1K photos per album limit.

    Quit asking, "who would ever run into this limit"? If you can't swim longer than an hour, it doesn't mean nobody else can. "Read the words, holmes!" :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. check out these great free classified ads!

    ReplyDelete
  33. @EntrepreNerd - And finally, "Store up to 8,192,000 photos from a 5MP camera" is a statement on amount of storage capacity, NOT a claim that you can store that many Photos with the Picasa Service.

    Wrong! "4TB" would be a statement about storage capacity. The sentence you quoted clearly uses the verb "store" and mentions a specific number of photos. In fact it doesn't mention a file size or a capacity at all. It's telling you an approximation how many photos you can store on their service. It's just basic English - read it again.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Microsoft Skydrive holds 25GB for free.

    I have to pay $5 a year for 20GB. What's that all about?

    ReplyDelete
  35. i'm sure they will fix it promptly.

    ReplyDelete
  36. i think this is only a temporary "error".

    ReplyDelete
  37. Much agree with your point "Picasa Web Albums has to remove the limitations, improve photo uploading and the way you organize photos".Also facing the same problem.

    ReplyDelete
  38. With the "buy 200GB, get a free Eye-Fi card" promotion...if you set up the card to send pics to Picasa Web albums, it creates an album for each day you take a picture. If you take just one picture every day, you'll create 365 albums....and if you've already got a number of albums in Picasa Web...well, that 1000 album limit isn't far away at all.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Just wondering.

    Did anyone try to buy that much space?

    Maybe, just maybe, they remove the limitations if you have that amount of space purchased.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Good news: Google no longer shows the message when you select 2 TB or more.

    ReplyDelete
  41. 1,000 photo limit per album? what the? So why does Picasa not complain and limit me on my computer? I say sync the album, it gets to 1,000 and stops. I am to believe Picasa on my computer can handle 2,000 photos in an album, yet I cannot sync the damn thing to Google's backend? something is seriously wrong here. Google, one of your programmers messed up and did his math wrong. Fix it!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Relax. The good news is that the album limit has been increased to 10,000. Yep, 10,000!

    Bad news is the 1,000 photo limit per album still stands. But honestly, isn't more than 1,000 in an album too unwieldy to view and to manage?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Has google realized there's free image album sharing hosts out there? And if ya want to pay, there's photobucket pro, which after you pay the 24.99 , it's unlimited. And to top it off, I can hotlink and the urls are much shorter and not long and unweildy

    ReplyDelete