Picasaweb … I got that one wrong then!

Just over a month ago I wrote a piece “What’s the future for Picasaweb?” – I managed to get that one spectacularly wrong, didn’t I!

Some things were clear, Photos was going to be spun out of Google+ and I assumed the link between Google+ and Picasaweb would be broken at that stage. I should have thought the other way round, shouldn’t I!

With the launch yesterday of Google Photos it has become apparent that the future of Picasaweb is … Google Photos. In all but name, they are one and the same thing but Google Photos has been optimised now, of course, for Mobile.

This morning I’ve tested from an Apple users perspective all the possible combinations of upload to Picasaweb, Google Drive and Auto-backup from Camera Roll (on my iPhone 4S which can’t have Google Photos installed on it as it’s running iOS 7… see previous post about Apple and “end-of-life”), and it has become clear that a new Workflow for iOS users wanting to share their photos is available and works very well.

Make sure your Google+ (or Google Photos) is set to Auto-backup and take a picture. Instantaneously that picture (in my case the one at the top of this post) will be sitting in your Google Photos app,  it will also within a minute be in Google Photos on the web (that’s the desktop link), and it will soon arrive in your Google Drive <GooglePhotos> folder as well.

You then have a few tools in the Google Photos app to do edits (or you could use Snapseed to do even more). Then from the Google Photos (or Snapseed) app on your mobile device you can share to twitter, Facebook, Google+,  iCloud Photo Sharing, Pocket, Flipboard, Flickr, Evernote, 500px, Tumblr, etc. etc.

So given the speed at which Auto-backup works, and as long as you have it switched on for both WiFi and Mobile Network (f you want to share away from a WiFi network), the Photo Sharing Workflow on your iPhone can now be “Snap using  device Camera and Share using Google Photos”.

NB You could of course have already been using Apple’s new Photos app, iCloud Photos and Photo Sharing where the sharing options are identical, but I wasn’t, and I’ve no intentions of doing so at the moment. You could also have been using IFTTT, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.

If you’re using a desktop browser there are less sharing options namely Google+, Facebook and Twitter, or … you can get a Shareable Link that you could put in an email or link to in a blogpost. Unfortunately, I don’t see an embed option, as yet, to allow you to publish an image from Google Photos into a blogpost – I hope that will follow. For the moment since Picasaweb and Google Photos are virtually one and the same thing, I can continue to use Picasaweb techniques for that use case!

In fact I’m sure the real heavy-lifting work has been done by making Drive and Photos a single image repository. Not all my Picasaweb images have been moved over to Drive … yet, but they are all accessible from Photos. The integration of Picasaweb and Photos has been achieved – presumably by re-directs. At some stage the message at the bottom of my Google Drive <Google Photos> folder –  “Stay tuned! Your older photos are coming soon” – will disappear and the integration will have been complete [EDIT 22/07/2015: This has now happened] and then (presumably) I will be advised that the Picasaweb interface is no longer available, but hopefully NOT before all the Picasaweb features have been added to Google Photos.

A couple of questions remain to be answered.

  1. What image quality should I be using – the default in the app has been set at “High Quality” which is correct for my iPhoneography and at 16Mp is much better than the original Free limit of 4Mp for storage, but do I want to set uploads to be “Original Quality” which would allow my unedited RAW files to be stored in Google Photos.
  2. What’s the place of the Google Desktop Uploader in my Workflow. This replaces the old Picasaweb Upload facility. I suspect I won’t use it – particularly since it also has Auto-backup and Sync features … a potential for just too many copies – but I do need to review whether it has a place in my Workflow. I suspect not, and I suspect I’ll continue using the Export to Google Drive/Picasaweb plugin(s) from Lightroom for this purpose. [I’ll return to both of these issues another day as they also relate to this recent post as well.]
  3. What should I do about all the duplicates that are now sitting in my Google Photos as a result of Auto-Backup and Google+ Sharing having caused two (or more copies) to have been made. I really need to sit down and work out whether I should do a one time job to sort this out.

So first impressions are good. I just need to make sure it works for me, and the way I work, before it gets my unqualified “thumbs up”.