Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WotW: Picasa to the rescue!

Have you been having trouble uploading images to Blogger with the new image uploader? Never fear, Picasa is here!
Original photo edited to add Picasa logo
Not only can Picasa help you easily make an awesome blog button, but it can help solve all your image uploading issues (meaning those issues you are having when you're trying to put images in your blog posts). Okay, maybe not every image uploading issue, but the most recent of the Blogger image uploading issues that I have heard people complaining about. And probably a lot of the others.

If you haven't had or noticed a problem, consider yourself blessed! Google estimates that less than 1% of users are actually experiencing hard-core technical difficulties, meaning that their images won't upload. Most people who are reporting the problem we'll talk about today are experiencing a case of major frustration with a "minor" Google switch:  the encouraged-and-then-forced switch to the updated editor.

I've always used the updated editor, so I'm very familiar with it. I rarely used the old editor for one BIG reason -- the image handling. Why oh why should I have to insert my images in the reverse order that I want them in my post?? When I first started blogging regularly about two years ago, I refused to accommodate that "feature" of the editor and the updated editor solved all that (for me).

Using the updated editor, when I (and now all of everyone) click the button to insert an image, instead of seeing the familiar "old" uploader which let you choose to either upload or enter an image URL, I and you and we see this snazzy new (or hated and ugly, depending on how you feel about it) image uploader with four choices (more is better!):

The most common complaint I have heard about the new uploader is that it "loses" your images once you upload them. With the old uploader, once you uploaded your images, they stayed in that Uploaded Images section during that blogging session. With the updated uploader, that doesn't happen.

This may just be a glitch. Glitches often happen to even the most stable programs when they experience floods of new users. However, I think that this glitch... isn't. I think this is a smart move by Google to help Blogger users better understand and control and organize their blog images. Before you grab your pitchforks and rally the virtual mob, let me explain.

When you click "Upload" and select your images (in either the old or the updated editor), you're not uploading those images to your blog -- you're uploading them to a Picasa Web Album that is specifically designated for your blog's images. Even if you've never heard, seen, nor smelt Picasa Web Albums, your images (and videos) are stored there, safe and sound. 

Picasa Web Albums is the web counterpart of Picasa that you downloaded last week (or that you can download here if you haven't already). The two are meant to work together, Picasa for editing and organizing images on your computer and Picasa Web Albums for organizing and sharing your images on the web.

The updated image uploader is built to give you all the power of Picasa Web Albums right in your post editor. If you'll give it a chance, I'm sure you'll come to love it (or at least understand it) in due time. And I'm here to help. 24-7. Possibly 24-6. Or 12-5. I mean, I do try to have some semblance of a real life. Ask me a question because I would love to find a solution.

Back on topic... Here's your guide to understanding and more effectively using the updated image uploader.

As you've seen, with the updated uploader (say that ten times fast...) you have four options: Upload, From this blog, From Picasa Web Albums, From a URL.

Upload lets you... upload. Put your images on the web. You can upload your images either through the uploader here or, as I prefer, using Picasa like I'll teach you below. When you upload your images through the updated uploader, they don't just disappear -- they go straight into that Picasa Web Album I mentioned above, the one that is designated for your blog's images. You can find all of your uploaded images...

... in the From this blog section of the uploader. This section is just a shortcut to your blog's designated Picasa Web Album. If you have multiple blogs, the images that you see in the From this blog section will be different when you are posting for each blog because each blog has a different designated Picasa Web Album. Also, if you are one of multiple authors (like I am here on Housewife Eclectic), you'll see only the images that you've uploaded, not images that other authors have uploaded. This album can very quickly become (and likely already is) very full and disorganized, so that's when it's nice to use...

the From Picasa Web Albums section of the uploader. Here you can see all of the web albums that you have access to, including the album dedicated specifically to your blog's images -- that's the one that's titled the same as your blog. You can create as many web albums as you want, so you can split up your images into easily manageable albums to make it easy to find exactly the image you're looking for.

However, do not, and I repeat DO NOT start moving your images around. Also, do not delete duplicate images because you've probably used each one in a different post. Even though they look the same to you, each image has its own URL that is used in the specific post where you put the image. Moving and/or deleting images will break things, most importantly every image on your blog. Moving your images changes their URL, so unless you want to re-insert every image in every blog post you've ever written, resist the urge to tidy up your blog's messy album. Just leave it, like that crooked seam after the 14th time you've resewn it or the jar of pickles at the back of the fridge. Leave it. You can't tidy the past, only organize the future. Take a deep breath and keep scrolling down. I'll teach you, all in good time. Have I ever left you hanging? Not my style. Deep breaths, in and out.

From URL does the same thing that it did before, inserting a borrowed image from another webpage or image hosting service. You should use this section very rarely because even if you are borrowing an image (and giving proper credit, of course), you should right-click and save the image to your computer and then upload it yourself. Inserting an image by URL "steals" that other site's bandwidth (not very nice!) and leaves you vulnerable for a yucky "image not found" message if the person in control of that site deletes or moves the image.

Hopefully this explanation helps you understand the new uploader and what is happening to your images when you upload them. Now I'll show you how I upload my images to use in Blogger.

Like I mentioned above, I use Picasa to organize, edit, and then upload images for my blog. Here's how:

If you haven't experienced the joys of Picasa yet, you can download it free here.

When you open Picasa, you'll see all the image folders on your computer as long as they're in the folders that Picasa automatically checks (such as My Pictures). If you don't see the folder that you're looking for (after double-checking because sometimes time stamps can be incorrect), you can add the folder by clicking File > Add Folder to Picasa.

In Picasa, you'll see only the folders with images in them, and the default view will show you the folders in chronological order based on the date of the images in the folder. If you'd prefer to see the hierarchy of your folders (parent folders and subfolders), Debra's given you instructions here and some tips for how she organizes her images here (I organize mine the same way).

Once you're comfortable with accessing your images through Picasa, uploading them is a snap!

Uploading Images to Picasa Web Albums from Picasa

1. Select the images you want to upload. In Picasa, selected images have a blue border around them and also show in the Selection pane in the bottom left corner.
  • To select multiple images, press Ctrl and click each individual image (for non-consecutive images) or (for consecutive images), click the first image, press Shift, and click the last image in the string of images you want to select.

2. Click Upload at the bottom center of the screen. If you haven't signed in to your Google account yet, you'll need to sign in now.

You'll see this upload window:

3. In the Upload window, either select the album to upload to from the drop-down list or create a new album by clicking +New and entering the Album title.

4. Select the upload size from the drop-down:
  • Original size -- for images that you will need to have their full resolution.
  • Recommended (1600 pixels) -- for images you or those you share with will be printing.
    • I use the Recommended setting for the images from my family blog so that I can share them with family members and also have a decent resolution image safely stored just in case Thelma fails in her storage duties.
  • Medium (1024 pixels) -- for sharing images that you won't be printing
  • Small (640 pixels) -- select this one for your blogs images! Smaller images help your blog load faster and maximize the number of images you can store for free with Google (you get 1GB free, but if you fill that up, an extra 20GB is only $5 per year. I have used 88% of my free space in about 18 months of image-heavy blogging.).
5. Click Upload and, as soon as the Upload Manager has done its work, your images are online and ready to blog!

6. To insert your uploaded images in a blog post, click Insert Image, select From Picasa Web Albums, and select the album you just created or uploaded to and then the image(s) you want to insert. You can select and insert multiple images, and they'll be inserted in the order you click on them, not the order they appear in the Insert Image window. Selected images have a blue border -- click once to select and again to deselect an image.

So... how does that feel? Less frustrating than repeatedly uploading images or uploading them one by one? Questions? Other Blogger concerns you'd like me tackle? Leave me a comment (and please be sure that your Blogger profile is set to show your email if you'd like a direct reply).

Happy Wednesday and happy blogging!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.


Cranberry Morning said...

Well, this is certainly helpful!! I have been so frustrated with the new uploader, for I wanted to add an image here and there and be able to go back to the uploader and find the others there, waiting. Now I will upload them to Picasa Web Albums (which I previously knew nothing about!) Thank you so much. This old dog doesn't like new tricks, but I guess I'll have to adapt. :-)

Grams said...

This is a great tutorial. I haven't had any trouble with uploading photos to my blog. But, I've used Picasa for my personal photos for a long time. It's a great tool.

Leah @ Beyer Beware said...

I love Picasa. Thanks for sharing the tips. So happy that google has picasa, blogger, and chrome!

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