Saturday, August 13, 2011

Using The Picasa Desktop Application to Bulk Upload To Google+ Albums

If you want to bulk upload a lot of photos to your Google+ enhanced Picasa web albums for backup or other reasons without affecting your quota, then this post will help you.

The Picasa desktop application allows syncing with your online Picasa Web Albums.  It will even resize the photos to 1600x1600 (which is the largest size a photo can be without affecting your quota using a standard account) so that your uploads don’t consume your quota.  The problem is that the desktop client doesn’t support resizing to 2048x2048, which is the maximum size of a free photo when you have a Google+ account.  You want to take advantage of this extra size, but you don’t want to have to manually upload your entire photo collection using the online Google+ photo uploader, because it is slow and notoriously buggy.  For instance when uploading my thousands of photos, it would often freeze or stop uploading after a few dozen.  This is not unusual for heavy web applications like this – native applications exist for a reason after all.  So what do you do?  Using the following steps, you can get around the default Picasa desktop application limitations to very easily upload all your photos:

  1. Set Picasa to actively watch the root directory containing the photos you want to upload
  2. Create a root directory for resized photos (eg - ~\Resized) and set Picasa to actively watch it
  3. Select the folder you want to upload (in my case, I have photos organised by month)
  4. Select 'Export' in the middle of the toolbar down the bottom of the screen
  5. Make sure the size is set to 2048 (type manually) and the Export location is set to the resized photos root directory created in (step 2) and export
  6. The exported folder will appear in the Picasa folder list automatically after it is scanned
  7. Right-click the new folder and select 'Upload To Picasa Web Albums'
  8. Select 'New' and enter the desired album name.  Ensure the 'Size to upload' is set to 'original'.  The album visibility can only be changed using the web application
  9. Click Upload and wait for the images to upload
  10. If some images fail with '... must be at least -90', then it is due to invalid GPS EXIF metadata.  Select the photos and select View -> Places.  On the right-hand side, select each location and 'Remove location data' to clear the invalid metadata, then re-upload as per (step 7) reusing the existing album

Note that there is still a limit in Picasa Web Albums where you can only have a maximum of 1000 photos in a single album, so it is wise to organise your photos into some kind of folder structure.  I personally organise my photos in a fairly flat folder structure – first by year then by month.  I do this because time doesn’t repeat itself so It makes it easy to decide where a photo should be stored and to manage and synchronise photos between multiple computers.  Usually it means that there is less than 1000 photos in a month, so I don’t run into the above-mentioned problem.  I then use extended tags and meta data to allow the photos to be sorted and viewed as I like (by person, topic, location, etc).

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