Google will retire Picasa on May 1, 2016

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 12, 2016
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

Google announced on February 12, 2016 that it will retire the photo hosting, management and editing service Picasa on May 1, 2016.

When Google launched the new Google Photos web application, it was clear that something had to happen to Picasa as Photos was Google's new focus and Picasa would have to go eventually.

The announcement should not come as a surprise to Picasa users. In short, Google plans to shut down Picasa Web Albums on May 1, 2016, and the Picasa desktop application on March 15, 2016.

Picasa users may use Web Albums and the desktop application until they are retired.

Picasa users can migrate to Google Photos by simply logging in to the service, and they will notice that their photos and videos are already hosted by Google's new service.

While the media is there, functionality is not yet identical between the two services. Google Photos lacks descriptions, tags and comment or an online gallery with GPS information, and it is unclear if Google will add those features to Photos in the future.

picasa web albums

Google plans to provide access to a read-only version of Picasa Web Albums for users who want access to these features. This allows Picasa users to view, download or delete content.

That way, you will still be able to view, download, or delete your Picasa Web Albums, you just won’t be able to create, organize or edit albums (you would now do this in Google Photos).

As far as the desktop app is concerned, Google wants users to migrate to the Google Photos application instead for all desktop uploading tasks.

As of March 15, 2016, we will no longer be supporting the Picasa desktop application. For those who have already downloaded this—or choose to do so before this date—it will continue to work as it does today, but we will not be developing it further, and there will be no future updates.

Picasa users who want to migrate to another (non-Google) service for their photo hosting and editing needs -- Flickr comes to mind -- may find the following help page on the official Google help site useful for that as it details how to download photos or albums from Picasa Web Albums.

That's only required if photos are not stored on a local PC but only in the cloud.

To download an album to your desktop, you need the Picasa desktop application installed on your computer. Open the album afterwards on Picasa Web Albums, and select Actions > Download to Picasa.

If you don't want to use Google Photos, you may delete any of the photos that are available on the service after you have made sure that you have local backups of them.

Now You: Are you affected by the retirement of Picasa?

Google will retire Picasa on May 1, 2016
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Google will retire Picasa on May 1, 2016
Google announced on February 12, 2016 that it will retire the photo hosting, management and editing service Picasa on May 1, 2016.
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  1. H Pospisil said on May 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    What to do with my pictures on my “Picasa” ? I don’t care about the program, I just want my pictures ! It is frozen.

  2. adeketode said on December 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    i love picasa photo viewer

  3. GvdK said on December 14, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Until there is a better alternative for desktop (off-line) face recognition I will keep using Picasa. It’s amazing for recognizing and organizing faces, off-line, in my personal photo archives.

  4. Mike Kearney said on June 2, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    What these people don’t understand is that photography is all about making images. If you keep changing your camera and darkroom equipment, you just get distracted. I like Picasa and know how to get what I want from it. The only important thing it lacks is perspective control, but I maybe need that once or twice a year. So I’m sticking with it as long as it will work for me. You can still download it from several online sites and it installs on Win 10.
    I really hate being told that I have to change something I have been doing happily for years – and that it will be good for me!

  5. Ellie Knol said on May 30, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    If I go to Google plus there are no albums from me. Picasa gets used by Blogger, so all my photo’s from my blogs are there. How will Google Plus see to it that the photo’s stay connected to the right blogpost? Is that going to happen? Or will my blog not have any photo’s after Picasa gets removed?

  6. Peter Holttum said on May 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    For what it’s worth, on 12 May 2016 Picasa desktop is still syncing to Picasa Web Album if you flip the switch by the folder heading in the thumbnails. I’m confused. I deleted 250 albums from Picasa Web Albums thinking the albums would remain in Google Photos because Google seemed to have copied them over. But they were deleted from Google Photos as well. Google are completely mishandling these photo product changeovers. What a bunch of amateurs!

  7. Anneliese said on March 29, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    I am very sad to hear this as I’ve used Picasa since 2004 for uploading all my photos, organizing, editing and emailing.
    I love how they are so easily viewed and organized how I personally want them organized and how it synchronizes with the Pictures on my hard drive. I use it almost every day and feel at a complete loss as to where to go from here. I am not excited about switching to Google photos at all. It feels more suited to web users than personal use if that makes sense . . . as in emailing rather than web sharing.

  8. Joaquin said on March 17, 2016 at 9:13 am

    The problem is, that there are patents and technologies uses in Picasa, that you cant just give away fro free to another developer. Like the face recognition. That’s not how the world works now for us and Google is not to blame for that.
    Still its sad that they let go of this wonderful product. I use it at home and in the company for face recognition and there is no other piece of software that can cope with >200.000 pictures and >1 Million recognized faces (of about 1000 people). Try that with Lightroom or any other software….

  9. zila bethec said on March 12, 2016 at 12:06 am

    I regularly do exhibitions with hundreds of photos, around 80 on the walls at a time, and the others to be consulted in albums, 20X27 cm and some 30X40 cm, and have, GIMP; Photoshop Elements; Ifanview and others and only use them for complicated things like cloning and things needing layers to create pictures by cutting out etc to put different photos together. . For all the rest I use Picasa. Nothing beats Picasa for reframing, resizing, sending, and extremely important, “signing” a couple of hundred photos at the same time just by copying from the first photo signed, and still being able to move the signature, make it the right colour to match each photo, even change the form of texte if necessary without ever having to type the name again,= less risk of typing errors and much faster. No other photo editors do it easily like that, still leaving the possiblity of changing things easlily too.The other photo editors are even complicated for simple things like just reframing to get the best part of a photo or to concentrate on different parts. Picasa is great for making posters for exhibitions, by using pile of photos, put things where you like then test different types of text to see which goes best, even move things around again. Picasa is the most efficient thing for looking at photos on the computer, opens up immediately, face recognitions alllows finding photos with that person easily. Great to be able to put text temporarily on a photo then send it by mail to wish a Happy New Year or something with nothing permanent being done to it unless exported to save the work. I use Picasa for preparing all my photos for getting them printed in a place for professinals by making albums (not web albums but just the little blue albums) with all the photos I want to get printed, correcting light etc and getting skylines straight, if needed. This just takes a little movement of a bar with PIcasa, with others it takes all sorts of complicated things like calculating the percentage of the angle you want to change. Picasa, you just look ansd slide this little bar and the grill is there for you to check vertical objects and horizontal objects. Then when all are ready, I export the album to the disk with a new name for getting photos printed, so easy and efficient.
    I think the Google people are crazy to stop such a good thing. I’m not interested in Picasa so much for sharing web albums which I have hardly ever done, so not interested in Google Photos either, especially as I am very concerned about copyright, no contact with Facebook etc, either, it’s all the other great things Picasa does which are important for me. Sending photos to friends and family by using PIcasa is so much more practical than any other way as well as for getting photos ready for printing. If Google doesn’t want Picasa any more, they should let someone else have it so that we can continue to use it including for sending as before. They should leave people the choice.
    Sorry about the not very good way of expressing things. I’ve been living in France for almost 50 years so my computer English is not what it should be for a person whose first language was English. It would have been easier for me in French.

  10. Andrej said on February 25, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Sad news!
    I’m using Picasa Windows desktop version since very begging (almost 10 years now)! And I’m using it for the whole process:
    – downloading photos from camera
    – organizing albums
    – sending picuters to my friends via integrated email option
    – face recognition and search option for tens of thousands of images (even RAW format)
    Almost all features, except publishing online. Which is only thing, Google will keep after reorganizing the whole system?
    Sorry to say that Google – shame on you! You purchased this product from Lifescape in 2004 and now you will shut down everything? After all, you should sell desktop version to another company or put in Open Source model.

    1. Manoj said on May 7, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Anderj,
      Indeed sad news!
      I have been doing exactly what you mentioned for over 10 years now.. I really can’t think of one single software that will do all of the things you mentioned in a streamlined way. I have Adobe Lightroom and other apps which are great and have their very defined reasons, however, what Picasa provided for me was a simple & elegant interface for creating albums, sharing them and printing them.

      Have you or anyone else have come up with a software that can replace Picasa?

  11. PhoneyVirus said on February 22, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I new when uploading Images and decide to go with Imgur for hosting images on my blog website. I did love using Google but they change their apps way to much for me to keep using it, not alone for hosting images. To make things worst you can’t view the full image and adding images to a forum or site it wont display them in the correct resolution.

    1. johnbuk said on February 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Hi PhoneyVirus, hope I haven’t misunderstood you but I also had this problem re embedding photos into a website I manage. Using Picasa was very easy in this regard.
      However I’ve found a workable solution using Google Photos which may help and it seems to maintain the size and resolution as far as I can see.
      When the photo opens in Google Photos right-click and choose “Open in new tab”. Copy the URL of the new tab and insert into IMG tags ie

  12. Joaquin said on February 19, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    The most important feature of Picasa was the offline face recognition for me. It’s incredible how good it works and how you can dive in your own history.
    Online face recognition is on the other hand one of the most worst thing you can do with photos of other person: to make them machine-recognizable without their consent.

    So I need an alternative that is offline only and can import the Picasa face tags. It has also to show GPS data. Any idea for Windows 10?

  13. Joh said on February 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    I have been using the desktop program Picasa for 9+ years, and will continue using it.
    I feel that my personal photos in safest on my own drive, so the web part I wont miss

  14. Pierre said on February 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

    A program without security fixes is dangerous.
    I would uninstall it

  15. Peter Holttum said on February 15, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Incidentally, Google appear to have added an upload to Google Photos button at the bottom of the main Picasa screen, although as I say above they have already uploaded everything without asking. I wonder if this button will remain in the stabilised dead version of Picasa, which obviously will no longer have Picasa Web Albums functionality.

    I myself will probably continue to use the dead version of Picasa to manage my photos locally on the desktop, as I love the desktop product. For me it hands down beats my older version of ACDSee. I swapped some years ago when Picasa offered non destructive editing of original potos long before it appeared in ACDsee. Also the latter kept asking for quite large upgrade fees. I did upgrade several times but stopped on v11 (2009). It will be easy enough to update any albums I select online to Google Photos, or indeed a competitor. But I have not looked into any of these. I am still in shock about the withdrawal of what to me is an ideal everyday photo product like Picasa along with Picasa Web Album, both of which I have used for many years.

  16. Peter Holttum said on February 15, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Google have exceeded their authority. They appear to have uploaded all photo folders switched on in Picasa folder manager whether or not the sync to web switch is on and off. So thousands of old photos which were never intended for the web have nevertheless been uploaded without asking me. Luckily I have no limit on my broadband. There is no end to the deceit of the big three (Google, MS and Apple) these days in trying to ensure that your actions meet their objectives rather than your own needs.

  17. Pierre said on February 13, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I have been using “photos” for a while, I had not noticed the change, the migration and the difference and I didn’t use the desktop program Picasa

  18. Andy Buford said on February 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I’m not sure I understand exactly what you are saying. Are you saying that the web elements of Picasa will no longer work or are you saying that Picasa won’t work at all. Several of my friends/clients use Picasa for editing their photos. They don’t use the web functionality at all.


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 14, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Andy, Google will retire the web interface. You can continue using the program, but it won’t receive any more updates and some features may stop working.

  19. wybo said on February 13, 2016 at 10:53 am

    The only Google product I still use to full satisfaction. Mind you I only use it to edit pics I have downloaded. Then I make an album in order to re-up it.
    It really is too bad they are dumping this but not surprising.

  20. Lollita said on February 13, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I lol’d at the Imgur. You probably have no idea what u saying.

  21. mikef90000 said on February 13, 2016 at 3:55 am

    No great loss.
    I cancelled my Picasa account because they removed some feature critical for structuring, can’t remember what. Same thing happened on Flickr and now the same is happening on Photobucket. As mentioned above, Google Photos is feature poor.
    Apparently these online services believe that we all have near infinite time and bandwidth for them to aim their unorganized, obnoxious photostreams at us (adult film analogy redacted).

  22. Neal said on February 13, 2016 at 2:08 am

    One of the Google services that isn’t wholly dependent on the Google cloud thus away from Google’s prying analytics and monetization schemes. For reals though, does everything need to be online? I use Google Photos for the pics that I want to share or comfortable to have online, the pics I don’t share for whatever reason I use Picasa to organize. For the sexting generation I am surprised that Picasa isn’t more popular nowadays.

    I hope they open source the client and someone picks it up. I tried the various alternatives, they weren’t as intuitive to use as Picasa.

  23. johnbuk said on February 13, 2016 at 1:20 am

    I use Picasa to get the code to embed into my society’s website. Can’t see that Google Photos does that.

  24. jimbo said on February 13, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Seldom does software achieve the ability to make virtual folders work exceptionally well (e.g. Google Drive – clunky in the extreme … imgur – worse). Picasa’s albums work with beautiful drag ‘n drop perfection. They really nailed it.
    Maybe it can one day be a front end in someone else’s care … a Phoenix (like Reader)

  25. S2015 said on February 13, 2016 at 12:51 am

    There are much better alternatives, such as imgur, dropbox, etc.

    1. Natalia said on March 16, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Really really sad to see it go! It was fantastic and superhelpful

  26. DV said on February 13, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Will keep the desktop version, especially the photo viewer.
    I have yet to find another app which is as light, simple yet “powerful” as Picasa Photo Viewer (I don’t use core part of the app, though).

    1. Jeff said on February 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Faststone Image Viewer is in the same class of speed, power and simplicity, IMO.

      1. jimbo said on February 13, 2016 at 4:27 pm

        Best not let Google catch talk of Picasa in the same breath as “image viewer” … at least not until after … tomorrow?

  27. Jeff said on February 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    It stayed on version 3.9 for 7 years. Kind of obvious they didn’t care much about it. Not sure why they bought it in the first place.

  28. jimbo said on February 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Did they really not realise what a quality product it was? It is a weird dis-organisation.

  29. Graham said on February 12, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    I never used Picasa. If I wanted to edit photos, there’s plenty of apps at my disposal I can use (Paint.NET, for example). If I wanted to host photos, there’s also plenty of places like Imgur. Picasa was just kind of…there.

    1. crustacean said on February 13, 2016 at 12:49 am

      Picasa desktop is primarily an image browser that catalogs all the images on your system (or just the folders you tell it to) and lets you search and catalog them in various ways. It has some basic non-destructive editing tools added on but it’ll also open photos in a real editor if you’re doing something more ambitious. While it works as an uploader for Picasa web albums, it does a lot more besides and you don’t need to use the web albums to use it.

      For free software it’s actually quite good for searching my back catalog, quick edits before posting something online, batch resizing, making slideshows or time lapse movies, etc. I know a few serious photographers with large (TB+) collections who use it as their main image manager instead of Lightroom or Bridge.

  30. Andrew said on February 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    And another popular google service hits the graveyard. Kind of curious if there will be any backfire on this considering there’s an alternative, unlike what they did with Reader.

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