Managing photos in a post-Picasa (?) world
September 1, 2015 5:21 AM   Subscribe

What next for Picasa? We've been using Google's free image manager since its inception and have accumulated nearly 130,000 pictures (330GB), along with associated favourites, edits, crops, etc. But Picasa isn't supported on Windows 8.1, let alone Windows 10, so what's next?

Right now, all our photos live on Dropbox and we use Picasa to manage, edit, make albums, etc. The Win7 laptop that runs Picasa is now approaching retirement and I'd like to make the step up to Win10 as per the other computers in the household. From reading around it looks like Picasa doesn't play especially nice with Windows 8.1 onwards, nor does has the product itself been updated since v3.9 a while back.

What are our options? Keeping the photos on Dropbox is a given, but it seems a shame to lose years of accumulated metadata and favourites. Has anyone tried running Picasa on Win10? Or is there another photo manager out there (paid is fine) that has a degree of future-proofing built in. Thanks so much in advance.
posted by srednivashtar to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I like - especially the emails they send that show a few thumbnail size photos of where you were on this day in various previous years.

However the previous photo storage/organisation web service I used closed down, so I keep photos on picturelife, my local computer and backed up to a remote storage company.
posted by chr at 5:35 AM on September 1, 2015

Response by poster: I forgot to add. Practically every one of these 130k photos is stored in a carefully maintained collection of individual folders based on date, location and camera type. Again, not something we wish to abandon.
posted by srednivashtar at 5:55 AM on September 1, 2015

Until you find a way to export your photos with metadata into another photo management app, you could extend the life of Win 7 by running it virtually on a computer running a newer version of Win, for example, Win 10. When the computer starts it's running Win 10. You then start VirtualBox, a free app from Oracle, to run Win 7 you installed there.

Installing VirtualBox is slightly more complicated than most consumer Win software. Installing Win 7 inside VirtualBox is just like installing Win 7 on any machine. Getting the virtual operating system (Win 7 in this case) to play nice with the hardware can be puzzling, but there are forums that handle newbie problems.
posted by Homer42 at 6:19 AM on September 1, 2015

Can you ask Picasa to store the metadata inside the photos, rather than outside in a separate database?

Do you not want to migrate to Google Photos?
posted by gorcha at 6:27 AM on September 1, 2015

Response by poster: As far as I understand it, Google Photos is an online service with 15gb of free storage. I have 330gb of images (all of which are already online at Dropbox) plus a not especially fast internet connection. I already use it for pictures taken on my smartphone and it is very slow. Also, I think the Picasa metadata is totally specific to Picasa - filters and crops applied, starred photos, etc., so it wouldn't be much use with the program itself.
posted by srednivashtar at 6:43 AM on September 1, 2015

I haven't used it, but isn't Dropbox's Carousel a photo management deal? I know it's definitely for viewing and sharing. And it's already integrated with dropbox...

You're half right about Google Photos. There are actually two tiers of storage, the 15gb that you refer to, and another that compresses images, but gives you totally unlimited storage. I'm currently using Google Photos and really loving it, or at least liking it more than Apple Photos. It might be worth your time to dump one folder onto the account to see how it handles. I'm not particularly serious, and I don't have anywhere near as much as 330 GB, but so far, I'm pretty impressed.
posted by Gilbert at 7:13 AM on September 1, 2015

This page says it is compatible with Win 10. I have had 10 for a month or so and I have used Picasa in that time but not extensively. You said you have other machines with Win 10 on them already? Install Picasa on one of those and add a few folders of pictures to test it out yourself. Picasa filters and crops should either be another file with the same name and "-1" appended to it or should replace the original file with the original moved to a subfolder. Picasa has probably been doing one of those things all along if you have been saving the file after cropping.

a carefully maintained collection of individual folders based on date, location and camera type
How much of that metadata is already part of the file? Probably quite a bit. Date and camera for sure and location can be added with some tools using the folder name.

I use both Flickr and Google photos and like them both for different reasons. I really like having two different cloud backups of every single photo and I pay $0 for both. My collection is closer to 50K photos. If Picasa doesn't work for you on Win10, experiment with syncing just a few folders with both services and see how much metadata they are able to pull in and then see what they guess. It can be a little creepy! It will take time to get your whole collection uploaded, but that can run at night for several weeks until it is done.
posted by soelo at 7:41 AM on September 1, 2015

I've had no trouble with Picasa and WIndows 8.1 (64 bit), though my collection is only about half the size of yours. What kind of troubles are you seeing?

I haven't installed Picasa on Windows 10 yet, but maybe I'll get a chance to try it out later today.
posted by DarkForest at 7:47 AM on September 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Reliance on any cloud-based service puts you at risk of change you don't want and can't control. It's unlikely Dropbox or Flickr are going to kill off their golden geese, but Google has been quite willing to shut down services.

One obvious approach is to handle everything locally. Buy one or two 1tb drives, decide on a photo management/editing tool, replicate your file structure, and copy everything from Dropbox. Two drives will provide working space, backup space, with Dropbox as the offsite backup.

Tools like Lightroom often hype their ability to push your images and associated data into a "catalog" that they manage for you, but they usually also work fine with an existing file structure.
posted by justcorbly at 8:49 AM on September 1, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. The Dropbox is a business account which inexplicably doesn't include Carousel. I will try a copy of Picasa on one of the Win10 machines. Just to add that Dropbox is a back-up - the files are also duplicated across two computers for safe-keeping.
posted by srednivashtar at 9:27 AM on September 1, 2015

I can see that some folks are having issues with Picasa and Windows 10, but my guess is that you will be able to get it to work. It seems like most of the issues are centered around importing and upgrades. Reinstalls seem to fix the upgrade issues. My guess (not having used Picasa) is that the import issue is related to camera support on Windows 10, and that you can get around that issue by importing via a card reader.

Failing that, there is a Windows app for migrating Picasa to Lightroom.

Still, I'd focus my energy on getting Picasa to work in Windows 10. Almost everything that works on Windows 7 can be made to work on Windows 10.
posted by cnc at 9:29 AM on September 1, 2015

I've got picasa working on two windows 10 machines and one running windows 8.1, no problems. I don't use camera import. I do use PicasaStarter to be able to use Picasa on seperate machines, same pool of photos (just not simultaneously).
posted by defcom1 at 11:15 AM on September 1, 2015

If you have an Amazon prime membership, they offer free unlimited photo storage. I use the app to sync the photos from my iphone. You can find more information about it here
posted by luckyme793 at 1:37 PM on September 1, 2015

Response by poster: Just a follow-up. I installed Picasa and so far no complaints - it seems to work exactly as it should. Thanks to all.
posted by srednivashtar at 3:07 AM on November 10, 2015

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