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November 21, 2006

Private Picasa Web Albums? Almost

I don't see why the concept of private album should be debatable. An album is private if it can be accessed by the author and a list of persons invited by the author.

Google decided to replace the concept of private album with unlisted album. Basically anyone can access that album if he knows its title and the Gmail address of the author or the URL of a public album. Google even suggested to choose strange names for the unlisted albums, so they're difficult to guess.

Now Google adds a parameter to the URL of an unlisted albums, like:[gmail address]/AlbumName?authkey=blabla, and denies you access if you don't specify that authentication key. But there's still a problem: anyone who enters the complete address can see the album, the address can be indexed by search engines if someone links to it. So much for a private album.

More context:
Picasa Web Albums launch
No private albums
Authkey parameter makes its appearance


  1. Of all things Google, Picasa Web Albums is the most visible proof that they aren't dedicating efforts to fully developing their pet projects. It's as though the programmers are given free reign on one project each, and once they get a prototype the whip gets cracked and they go back to the core systems. i can't see why they insist on leaving the albums accessible to anyone if the author wishes them to remain private. Why would someone choose "unlisted" if they WANTED others to find and view the photos? This service can't really gain any momentum until they mature the features.

  2. Uh if that happend just rename the album, from a programmers point of view this is a much better system.

  3. Sad to see privacy of users being ignored to this extent...

  4. Something needs to be done about these problems with Picasa Web Albums - I pay for this service and all I'm getting is headaches.
    Anytime I try Google screensaver , my computer freezes ,,,, anytime I use 'collage', my computer freezes,,, and I can't restart properly. Now this privacy issue,,, when will it end?



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