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Google provides photo management tools.  Initially Google offered Picasa Web Albums, however when Google introduced Google+ (Google Plus) in summer 2011, with its embedded Photos support, and then Google Drive in the spring of 2012, photo options became more flexible...and confusing.  Here's an attempt to clarify things.
  • Picasa Web Albums - the original Google Photo sharing service at:  Allows you to upload individual photos or albums, to edit and to share them as desired.  These photos can be embedded into websites, etc.
  • Google Plus Photos - the photo sharing tool within Google Plus (social network service) at:  Similarly this service allows you to upload, edit and share photos.
  • Google Drive - a cloud-based file sharing service for all types of files (not just photos), which does NOT have any photo-specific features.  We do NOT recommend using Google Drive for photos, please use the above tools that were built to handle photos.
First, Picasa Web Albums and Google Plus Photos are interconnected.  Each Google Account has a single photo library, and Picasa Web Albums and Google Plus Photos are essentially providing two separate user interfaces into that common library.  For example when you upload an album into Picasa Web, you will also see the album in Google+ Photos and vice versa.  Navigating using the Google menu bar and selecting 'More' -> Photos will take you to Google+ Photos - if your account is signed up for Google+, otherwise it takes you to Picasa Web albums.  I suspect in time Picasa Web Albums will be retired as Google Plus Photos replaces it, but hopefully not until all features have been ported.

Key features:
  • Upload photos or albums from your computer using either a browser or via computer applications.
  • Various photo resolution settings when uploading photos (from unaltered originals to highly compressed).
  • Store up to 1GB of photos for free, many photos of a lower resolution do not count toward your free storage quota.
    • Google Plus users - image resolutions 2048x2048 pixel or less do not count toward quota.
    • non-Google Plus users - image resolutions 800x800 pixel or less do not count toward quota.
    • Videos up to 15 minutes don't count towards quota.
  • Share photos with individuals, domain, public, Groups, and Google+ Circles.
  • Options for email notification to shared parties when additional photos are added to shared albums.
  • Permissions settings to allow shared parties to add photos to an album and to comment on photos.
  • Instant Upload photos from your smartphone when you have the Google+ app installed on your phone.
  • Edit photos online using 'Creative Kit'.
  • Picasa Web Albums supports more photo management features than Google+ Photos (such as move photos between albums and copy photos).
Useful Links:
In addition to the cloud-based photo management service, Google also supplies some free computer applications to assist with photo management (these are completely optional and are not required):
  • Picasa - this photo management application can be used to manage a photo library, edit photos, and synchronize (upload and download) images to your Google Accounts photo library.  (N.B. Picasa is a computer app, while Picasa Web Albums is the cloud service.)
  • iPhoto Plug-in for Picasa Web Albums - this is a Plug-in for Mac iPhoto that allows you to export/upload photos and albums directly from iPhoto into Picasa Web Albums.  If you're an iPhoto user, the addin is a clean simple tool for publishing your photos to Picasa Web Albums.


The organization (ORG) has deployed this service in the following specific manner to address our requirements.

When you are creating albums that you would like to remain a part of the Activity, please create the album using one of the ORG's Google Apps Accounts (…  If an Activity is going to require a large amount of photo storage space (i.e. theater photos of cast and show), it may be necessary to create a new Google Apps account specifically to meet the photo needs of a show.

Getting Started


If permissions for this service are restricted such that only specified individuals or groups can access the content, then you must have a Google Account and must be logged into the account to access the content.  Refer to User Help -> Accounts for help with account options.

Initial Setup

Nothing is required.  However if you want to use one of Google's optional computer applications, follow these installation instructions.  The author uses the iPhoto Plugiin.

Picasa Application

Google currently recommends that you install and use the program, Picasa, which is a photo management application available for Mac and Windows.  Here are the steps to obtain and install this program:
  1. Download this application from the Picasa website: and install it onto your computer.
  2. Follow typical installation instructions (on Mac: a) double click to mount the .dmg, b) then look for and drag it into the /Applications folder). 

Mac iPhoto Plug-in for Picasa Web Albums

Google provided a Picasa Web Albums plug-in for iPhoto so you can export photo albums directly from iPhoto into PicasaWeb.  Here are the steps to obtain and install this plug-in:
  1. Download the plug-in from the internet. 
  2. Unzip the download, and them move the files into folder:  /Library/Application Support/iPhoto/PlugIns.


Viewing Photos

Visit either the Picasa Web Albums or Google Plus Photos sites to view your photos.

View an Album shared with me

When an album is shared with you, you may receive an email containing a URL link.  Simply click on the link to go to Picasa Web Albums and view the album. (Confirm interactions with Google+)

View all the Albums shared with me

Picasa Web Albums has a page,, that displays all the albums which have been shared with you.  Unfortunately as Google revised Picasa Web Albums interface concurrent with the introduction of Google+, this page no longer appears in the ordinary Picasa menus (hey, Google please fix this), but you can still access the info with this link.

Upload Photos 

Upload via browser

This is how to upload photos using a browser.

  1. Login to your Google account and go to the Picasa Web Albums site:
  2. If you want to add photos to a specific album, select that album; if you want to create a new album, remain on the main page.
  3. Click on the 'Upload' button at the top of the page.
  4. A new page appears, for new albums enter an Album name.
  5. Then add photos by either dragging photos into the browser, or clicking on the 'Select photos from your computer' button to browse to the desired photos.
  6. Click OK  (and the photos will upload).

Upload from iPhoto using Plug-in

Exporting photos from Mac iPhoto up to Picasa Web Albums is quite simple once you've installed the plug-in.  Follow these steps:
  1. Using iPhoto, select the photos/albums you would like to upload to Picasa Web Albums.
  2. Select File -> Export and when the export menu appears, select the tab for 'Picasa Web Albums'   
            iPhoto Export via Picasa Web Albums Plugin Dialog Box
  3. Verify that you are signed in to the desired Google account, or sign in now.
  4. Complete the other fields, in particular select the photo scaling ('Actual size' for the full images, or other choices to limit the size of the files).
  5. Click on Export (and the photos will upload).

Upload using Picasa App

Learn more about Picasa 3.9 at Google Help:  Welcome to Picasa 3.9 - Picasa and Picasa Web Albums Help

Sharing Photos

Uploading photos doesn't automatically share them unless you add them to a folder that is already being shared with others.

Before sharing them, you may want to adjust information such as the Album Name and Description and other annotations.

Then, to share in Picasa Web Albums, there is an area to the right of the images that shows the current 'Share with' list and a 'Share' button to add more.  Click on the share button and you'll see a dialog box.  Fill in the list of email addresses (or Google Group address), or Google Plus Circles.  Add your comment and check the 'Also send email to ...' checkbox.

Note: Sharing photos or albums does NOT add them into a 'Shared with You' menu on the other person's Picasa Web Albums site.

How to Share an Album to Group

Rather than listing an individual user, enter the email address for the group.
TBD - confirm, works and describe any side effects (there were a lot of product forum posts complaining about problems).

How to Share an Album to Public


How to Gather Photos from Group

It's typical for all the participants of an activity to want to pool together their photos from an event put on by the Activity.  Here's how to do it using Picasa Web Albums:
  1. Using a Google Apps account, go to Picasa Web Albums 
  2. Next you'll need to create an album.  
    • If you have at least 1 photo to use, select 'Upload Photos' and create a new album entering a name and the photo(s).
      • You can easily create a title page photo by taking a screen shot of a few words in a word document or something similar).
    • If you don't have any photos yet, create an empty album using a little trick.
      • Go to any existing album and select 1 photo, when it becomes large, select the 'Actions' drop down and choose 'Copy to another album', then enter the new album name and set visibility to 'Anybody with link'.
      • You are taken to the new album.
      • Share the album with the desired audience and include in the comment that you would like everyone to share photos into this album.
      • Later - Now delete the photo that you just copied to create this album (select the photo, select the 'Actions' drop down, and choose 'Delete selected photo').
      • You now have a new empty album.
  3. Share the album with the desired audience and include in the comment that you would like everyone to share photos into this album (n.b. photos that others add will count toward the quota of the account that owns the album).
  4. Others add photos to your album (Google Help:
  5. After everyone has contributed to the album, you may want to prepare an archive version, by copying all pictures into another album.  This will have the effect of making a 'local copy' of all the photos which were shared.  TBD - this needs verification.
TBD - refine this section

Note: An alternate approach may be available in Google Plus by using 'Events'.

How to Publish Photos on a Google Site

Photos that are present in Picasa Web Albums/Google Plus Photos are available for embedding into Google Sites.  They can be embedded as individual photos or as slide shows.  Please refer to the Manager Help -> Sites TBD page for specific instructions.

Learn More

Here are some links to Google Help and Learning for this service:
Additional Google Apps help and learning resources are listed on our Google Apps Help page.