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January 3, 2011

Picasa Web Albums Wish List

Picasa Web Albums is one of the Google services that has been unfairly neglected by Google, even if it has a lot of flaws and many missing features. Probably the biggest flaw was the goal of the service: to be an online extension of Picasa, a popular photo management software. Picasa Web Albums inherited Picasa's limitations and didn't add many useful features because they were available in Picasa. Instead of focusing on improving the web app, Google developed Picasa for Mac, added new features to Picasa and acquired Picnik, an online image editor.

Picasa Web Albums is somewhat similar to Microsoft's Office Live, an online extension of a popular software, which is surprising, considering that Google is a big proponent of cloud computing.

If you try to upload photos to Picasa Web Albums, you'll notice that Google recommends to install Picasa. That's because you can only upload up to 5 photos at a time using the web app (unless you're using Internet Explorer: Google developed an ActiveX control for uploading photos).


Try to download an album and you won't be able to do that without installing Picasa or using some workarounds.

To edit a photo, you need to use Picasa or Picnik, a slow Flash image editor. It would be much more useful to have some basic editing options inside Picasa Web Albums, so you can quickly retouch your photos.

Andrew Maxwell and François Beaufort created a long wish list for Picasa Web Albums (sorting albums by name, sub-albums, upload by drag and drop, multiple sign-in, offline mode) and many of their issues can be easily addressed by storing photos in Google Docs and transforming Picasa Web Albums into a Google Docs app. This way, you'll use a single file storage service, uploading and downloading multiple photos will be much easier, photos could be shared privately without revealing all the photos from an album, you could add photos to multiple folders and even create subfolders. Another benefit is that you'll be able to use a syncing software for all your files if Google decides to release a software like Dropbox or Windows Live Mesh.

31 comments:

  1. Uploading my Videos taken with my camera also don't work via the Web-Uploader. Given the state of the Linux Version of Picasa, it is, till today not possible for Linux users to do so.
    I have to boot my Windows Partition just for that.
    Picasa/web really needs work.
    The online component should not stand behind the Desktop Version. Especially considering the rise of ChromeOS.
    Now is the time to upgrade it.

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  2. Worst of all: security. Private photos aren't really private. Are just unlisted. Anyone can see them if they have the link.

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  3. @anonymous
    Private photos are really private.
    Unlisted photos are not.

    http://picasa.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=39551

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  4. PWA isn't as good as it could be but I find they are improving it all the time.

    Making it part of Google Docs makes no sense to me, I wouldn't want my hundreds of pictures cluttering up the Docs interface. Could it take some features from Docs? Sure, and they were mentioned in the post.

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  5. Google is fast becoming Yahoo. The rumor about no-resources working on Google Reader is also troubling. Perhaps Google no longer wish to entertain its user base who are using many of these tools for free.

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  6. neglected ? what about face recognition technologies and geo-localisation ?

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  7. @Andrex "Making it part of Google Docs makes no sense to me, I wouldn't want my hundreds of pictures cluttering up the Docs interface": Google succeeded in providing search results of any type (images, video, updates...) in a single result page so I'm sure they can do the same with any type of files in a single File Manager. They are many ways to do so: one is to replicate Mac OS' Finder or Windows' file browser (no surprise for the users) but they should innovate here!

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  8. Guillaume, these "new" technologies were out in september 2009.
    http://googlephotos.blogspot.com/2009/09/announcing-picasa-35-now-with-name-tags.html

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  9. @François Wrong! All photos, even private ones, can be publicly retrieved if you have each individual link. Not different from public and unlisted photos. Try it.

    From Anonymous 1

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  10. @Anonymous 1,

    My bad, you're right, there is no 403 error for images.
    So, i +1 your comment! ;)

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  11. @François Really bad job from Google ;(

    From Anonymous 1

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  12. I'm waiting for a trash can for picasa web albums. Otherwise I worry about accidentally losing my photos

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  13. Thank you for this article. I only hope that Google pays attention. Just this weekend I found myself frustrated with Picasa and Picasa Web Albums and searching for an alternative. Sadly, there isn't much legitimate competition.

    I am hoping that Google has a new version in the works to coincide with their release of Chrome OS. Since Chrome OS stores everything in the cloud, there has to be an easier way to get pictures from your camera to Picasa Web Albums than their cheesy HTML uploader.

    The frustrating limitation with Picasa is that it is not very friendly to network drives and multiple computers trying to share pictures. That's why an online version makes so much more sense. In fact, why can't we have a Picasa-style interface to Picasa Web Albums?

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  14. Google gives 1Gb free, Skydrive 15Gb free!
    What we need is space! (Mine is full!)

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  15. I also need more space for my Creative Commons license pictures. I need 20Gb. Also integrate with Youtube.

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  16. Good post. I am one client with 5000+ online pictures (and 10 000 pending) who paid extra for storage space. I left due to many of the issues listed above. Most important for me was folder within folder. It is so basic that I decided I could not live without it. I left and is unlikely to come back unless they shape up.

    What is most frustrating is that I 2-3 times contacted Google listing my request for more functionality. I ended up on a pre-defined list of tick-boxes where I could choose what functionality I wanted. I was clearly not the first frustrated user as most of my issues was on their list already. Still, nothing happens. No indication of progress even. It is like almost throwing a rescue line to man about to drown. Frustrating, EVIL and sorry to say - STUPID!

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  17. Why? Every website show that types of download message.I am fed up man

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  18. Sometime website ask me - download the Active X Control so guys it is very important for her PC

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  19. how can I change my image if I do not using installing the photoshop http://minimalbugs.com/questions/interesting-stuff-online-image-editor-like-photoshop

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  20. Thank you for the information. Hope that Google will hear all the feedback from the users for them to take actions for it. Maybe Google is working in a much larger project... no one knows...

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  21. Great post. Google has to update PWA. Why did Google get rid of batch facial recognition tagging? Makes no sense.

    I hope PWA adopts some of Google Docs functionality and that PWA can be used as a cloud back up service in the event of a local failure. Sooner or later Google is going to have to embrace a Dropbox/Mozy/Carbonite/SugarSync kind of cloud storage system (more than just Google Docs is now).

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  22. As someone mentioned above, and noticing it myself, I find it utterly hard that Google could Picasa team could be such morons for screwing up the privacy of private photos.

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  23. Technically speaking, the page that includes your photo is private and can only be accessed if the photo has been shared with you. All Picasa Web photos have URLs that can be accessed by anyone who knows their addresses.

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  24. First thing first!.. More storage please...

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  25. @Alex Chitu, you said: "All Picasa Web photos have URLs that can be accessed by anyone who knows their addresses."

    That's a badly design security. If PWA has three levels of security, private/locked, private/unlocked, and public, than why should the private/locked photos be openly available via image URL? There are several services out there which does not screw up security like this for your photos.

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  26. @Alex Chitu I support what Anonymous said. And add that our photos are in danger, not only if someone knows the URL, but also if we use a third party app like this http://memolane.com/index.html and many more...

    From Anonymous 1

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  27. Why can't Google provide secure (https) connection to Picasa web album?

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  28. Did you try https://picasaweb.google.com ?

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  29. By default when you select gmail or google sites, it automatically use https. If you select photo, it is not automatically https, you have to type https.

    I reviewed my google analytics reports and saw where someone in brazil was able to access my picasa web photo home page. All my photo albums are private.

    Google analytics did not show any access to the private albums pages though.

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  30. I found many of the photos from picasa are being used in romance scams. There should be a way to keep the photos from being downloaded.

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  31. Some of my albums are publics but i also see someone in brazil watching every days my albums. I don't try to watch out what he or she or it was watching. There's something whith Brazil !!!

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