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If you haven’t heard the news, Google announced on February 12th that they will begin the transition to Google Photos over the next few months.  If you are utilizing Picasa (desktop or web), I’ve outlined a timeline along with information if you choose to make the transition to Google Photos.  Just because Google is phasing out Picasa, doesn’t mean you have to use Google Photos. Hint; Hint.

About Picasa

Picasapicasa is essentially an image editing suite with a photo viewer and organizer for pictures stored on a computer. It was also extended to let users select photos to backup or share online in Picasa Web Albums.  There are two pieces to Picasa, desktop and web albums; and both are discussed below.


  • 2014: Google purchases Picasa
  • 2015: Google launches Google Photos
  • March 15, 2016: Google will stop both technical support and updates for Picasa desktop
  • May 1, 2016: Picasa Web Albums no longer available

Picasa Desktop

Even though Google will no longer support Picasa Desktop after March 15th, the desktop application itself can still be used.  You just won’t have continued support or updates available after March 15th.  And after May 1st, your photos and videos will no longer be updated to Picasa Web Albums.  NOTE: There is no Google desktop replacement for Picasa.  That means if you choose to switch to Google Photos, all your photos and videos will be online and at the mercy of Google Photos.  More about that later.

Have you added tags to photos or videos in Picasa desktop?  Well, guess what?  Those great little tags you added to your photos are also visible in the original file (mac or pc file explorer).  So, if you choose to switch to another tool, your tags are not lost.

Picasa Web Album

If you are using Picasa Web Album and wish to transition to Google Photos, you can start doing so today by simply logging into Google Photos.  All your photos/videos that were in Picasa Web Album are in Google Photos.  Note: You must create a Google account if you do not have one.

Something I discovered while writing this article, is that tags added in Picasa desktop were visible in Picasa Web Album; but did not see the tags in Google Photos.  Also, if you added tags in Picasa Web, but didn’t save (or sync) the photos back to your desktop; the tags are not updated to your desktop.   Make sense?


Want to stay with Google Photos?  Just be aware that your photos will now be online and hoping you have another primary backup system for your photos.  If you wish to not continue with the move; stay tuned for Part 2: Moving from Picasa.

Google’s Terms/Polices on Photo Sharing

privacyGoogle Photos, along with many other “free” photo sharing sites is a major concern to me.  Here’s why.  But, no matter what tool you use for photo sharing, PLEASE read the terms of service.  Like many others, you don’t want to find one of your photos being used in advertisement, or worse, without your permission.

So, under Google’s Terms of Service, is a nice little section titled “Your Content in our Service”.   Right away, Google is nice enough to tell you that your content belongs to you; but wait.  If you read the next paragraph; it’s also Google’s.

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

Further more, Google adds: If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account.


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