Tag Archive: picasa web albums

Reverting From Picasa Web Albums to Flickr

It looks like my ten month experiment with Picasa Web Albums is coming to an end. Though there are somethings I really like about PWA, overall, flickr is still a better match for me. I’ve updated flickr with all the sets taken since the experiment began and I’m creating a post here for each photo set.

I’m still not enamored with flickr; their persistent inability to supply an RSS feed of photo sets is appalling. They finally show a map on the photo page, but not on the set page. You can’t see an overall map. Really, only one of my presentation issues has been addressed. Still, of the options out there now, they suck the least.

Flickr May Get a Reprieve

The issues with name tagging on Picasa Web Albums still remain. From posts on the PWA help forum it appears that all of us who had name tagging stop working are still in that broken state and Google hasn’t even acknowledged the issue.

I’m going to post my last couple of albums from 2009 on PWA then put that aside and look at ways of solving the lack of the flickr photoset rss problem. Perhaps it’s time to write  a small standalone program that polls flickr and generates the desired rss.

Picasa Has Its Own Issues

Perhaps my relationship with Picasa Web Albums will be short lived. I’ve gotten it into a state where PWA no longer will accept name tags either from the desktop client upload or from the user interface. Nothing I’ve tried has been able to prod it back into accepting name tags on new uploads though existing name tags are still there.

If I try to add a name tag in manually from the UI, it doesn’t accept the entry. The entered name blanks out and the tag is labelled “unnamed.” If I navigate to another photo and then back, even that unnamed tag is gone.

If I delete the album and re-upload it from scratch using Picasa for Mac then none of the name tags are transferred. But, up until yesterday, this was working properly. The evidence indicates a problem on the server side and web searches indicate others have run into this problem but nobody’s come up with a solution and Google doesn’t seem to be saying anything.

Perhaps its time to look at plan B.

Why I’m Migrating from Flickr to Picasa Web Albums

I’ve been using flickr for over three years now. In general I’ve been content with the service. It’s not perfect but it has been serviceable and reliable. They’ve added new features. I’ve got over 11,000 photos there. Moving that many photos is a fair amount of work and I’ve certainly been a victim of entropy. I didn’t much want to think about doing it.

But, there have been nagging gripes.

My earliest is that flickr is oriented to the photo, but I tend to work and think in terms of photo sets or albums. Flickr does provide sets but doesn’t provide any way to get an RSS feed of sets. Getting that feed would allow me to automatically create a post here whenever I uploaded a new set of photos. To get around that I wrote a module that used flickr’s API to work around that. However, that code was somewhat brittle and probably would have needed major updates whenever I did a major version update on the website software.

Flickr recently added name tagging but without any automatic face recognition. The UI to work with it was tedious at best, particularly if I wanted to go back and tag all the old photos.

While flickr was among the first to offer geotagging there was no way to get an overview map for the entire set if the set was large.

Flickr’s organizer, while generally pretty slick, had problems when dealing with the nearly 200 sets that I had. Those problems made dealing with collections (groups of sets) awkward.

So, when I decided to move the website from an old version of drupal to a new version of wordpress, this meant that my flickrsync module would no longer be available unless I wanted to port it to wordpress. While that might be an interesting exercise, it was never a perfect solution and had its own scalability issues. Instead, I decided that this was the time to consider other photo hosting solutions.

I decided on Picasa Web Albums for a few reasons:

Foremost, PWA provided an RSS feed of albums and better yet would sort that feed by the “date taken time” rather than the upload time. This kept things in the proper order for what I wanted.

The name tagging interface was better than flickr’s (particularly when the Picasa desktop app was used to do the tagging).

There were some downsides:

Picasa Web Albums isn’t as full featured as flickr. I did give up some functionality but mostly functionality I rarely if ever used. I’m also giving up all the comments and history the photos had on flickr. Also, while flickr provided unlimited storage space, PWA doesn’t.

It’s going to take a while to move things over, especially since I am adding name tags and cleaning up the textual tags, but I’ve got until April until my flickr account needs renewing so hopefully I can get it all done by then. And who knows, perhaps by then flickr will address my major issue (rss for sets) though it seems unlikely because they haven’t yet despite three years of many people asking for it.

Still Here and Changes on the Way

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, almost a year, but during that time I’ve been busy with the Equality Fairfax website, photography, genealogy, amateur radio, work and most importantly, spending time with Lauri. But, the state of my website finally got to me and I’ve taken advantage of some free time to migrate the site to wordpress from drupal.

I’m also in the process of migrating my phtoos from flickr to Picasa Web Albums. The primary reason for this is that Picasa provides an RSS feed of albums while flickr, after three years, still doesn’t think this is a worthwhile feature. Then when flickr just implemented it’s rather lame face tagging, it provided the impetus to make the change. It’s going to take a while to move everything over, but it’s coming and should make my life a whole bunch easier.

I’m also trying to aggregate all my activity around the web here on the home page. It will show my posts here, new Picasa albums, new YouTube videos, new book reviews at GoodReads and shared items from Google Reader. If I use any other websites that provide worthwhile feeds (e.g. not facebook with it’s useless RSS feeds), I’ll add them in as well.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the new look and pardon the mess while I get things back in order. Hopefully I can get the bulk of structural changes done this weekend though migrating the photos to Picasa will take a few weeks.

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