Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The disaster of Google Picasa

I have been a fan of Google's products for many years and have been using Picasa as a wonderful web gallery service. I am a paying customer buying storage from Google. But well ... not anymore. I just did a radical change and deleted all my albums from Picasa because it turns out Google has done some nasty changes in the service. Done them without any respect to privacy and without giving any choice to the customers. Here is how the thing now works:
- If you tag a photo with a person in Picasa and the person is in your Google+ circles then the whole album is opened to that person automatically.
- The person tagged can then share the whole album to his circles. Maybe even make it public.
- According to the new Privacy terms Google gets to keep all the photos with name tags and location tags, essentially saving the information of millions of people's life's, their whereabouts, friends....
- Picasa web albums is probably soon to be end-of-life and Google+ photos (web gallery in a social network) is going to substitute it.

I did analyze what I should do about it and went through the following reasoning:
- After the surprise of finding my Picasa photos on a social network (Google+) I came to the scary conclusion that I don't have anymore control over the permissions of the galleries.
- Google can and has done changes in the permissions without clear warning and my acceptance.
- And most importantly the people on my photos that I have tagged have not given me the right to publish their photo and information publicly.

Therefore deleting all the data seemed like the only option. So can anyone suggest a good web-gallery service? :-)

The next thing Google should do is to implement the same policy on Gmail: wherever someone's name is found in an E-mail this should automatically be posted onto his Google+ account, publicly and with tags stating who, when, whom and where wrote this text about him. This would indeed lead to a totally transparent society. But if you think of it then this is exactly what happened to Picasa .... and how Facebook Photos work.

And give it a try: Go to http://plus.google.com/photos and choose "Photos from your Circles" and see how many personal galleries you can find. I did find a lot of "daughters birthday party" and "family reunion" type of galleries that should be private.

4 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I can not really confirm your observation and just tried it myself by tagging my wife on a photo in an album which I have not shared.
    My wife got no notification mail and she also cannot see the photo.

    The Google help page (http://support.google.com/picasa/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1306701) addresses this quite clear:
    "Name tags are visible to people that can view the album."

    Maybe you double-check your album sharing settings or test it again on a fresh album.

    Regards,

    Andreas

    ReplyDelete
  2. But there is possibility to delete your G+ profile? Doesn't it help?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here are a couple of articles explaining the new privacy policy of Google+ and Picasa. http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-google-transformed-picasa-web.html
    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1896891

    It seems quite annoying that I can go to Google+/photos, open someone elses album there and name tag people on the photos. This will of course send a notification to them and open the albums to them. And with that also the possibility to name tag people even further and send share these albums even forward. The owner of the gallery has no control over that.

    Imagine the future after (I mean the next 2 years) when name tagging becomes even more popular and the face recognition even more better. Your whereabouts will be known to everybody in real time.

    ReplyDelete
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