Can Anyone View Your Picasa?

by Kevin Lee

If you aren't careful these days, anyone on the planet could view online photos that you thought you made private. This may happen when you fail to read important disclaimer information that Internet image hosting sites provide. If you use Google Picasa Web Albums to store pictures online, you can control who views them by learning to adjust your Picasa privacy settings.

Picasa Desktop and Picasa Web Albums

Picasa makes it easy to upload images from your Picasa desktop application to your online Picasa Web Album. Although you can manually upload pictures from within your local Picasa program, you also have the option to use the Sync to Web feature, which automatically sends images to your Web album when you edit them. It is important to remember that you have this feature enabled so that people who can view your online Web album can only view image updates that you want them to see.

Album Visibility

Picasa Web Album visibility settings are similar to the ones you see in Google Docs after you upload a file to that service. For instance, if you don't want people to see your personal Web Album images, you can choose the “Only You” privacy setting. The “Limited” visibility setting restricts viewing to people you specify. The “Limited, Anyone with the Link” setting enables anyone who can click a link to your album to view it. If you would like to allow anyone on the Web to view your album, choose the “Public” visibility setting. When you use that setting, your images will appear in Google search results, on Google+ and on your Picasa public gallery.

Adjusting Privacy Settings

When you upload images from within your desktop Picasa program, you have the ability to set your desired privacy settings. However, it is never too late to change those settings after you set them. You can do that by visiting your Picasa Web Albums “My Photos” page, clicking one of your albums and then clicking "Actions." You can then click "Album Properties" and adjust the album's visibility setting. If you don't want to go online to adjust Picasa visibility settings, you can select an album in your desktop Picasa app, click the arrow next to the "Share" button near the top of the screen and click one of the visibility settings that appear in the drop-down menu.

Tips

If you don't have privacy concerns and you don't mind seeing your images when you search Google, use the Public visibility setting. If you use that setting, remember that some people in one of your group photos may not appreciate finding themselves in Google image search results. The Limited visibility setting is a good one to use when you want to share a private photo album -- such as one for family members. If you don’t have a Picasa Web Album, nobody on the Web can see pictures that reside in your computer’s Picasa application. However, if people log into your computer using your username and launch Picasa, they’ll be able to see your images.

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.

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