Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Move from iPhoto to Google+ Photos


I continue to rethink my workflow to optimize working on my Chromebook. One of the things that has yet to be recognized by its critics is that if you are going to use a Chromebook, then you are likely going to have to change how you do certain things.

No one ever said moving to a Chromebook would be EXACTLY the same experience as your exisiting OS and computing workflow. Expect to modify your processes. The same would be true if you decided to switch from Windows to Mac, Mac to Linux, or Windows to Ubuntu. When you choose another OS, expect it to function differently.

Two of the things that are still keeping me pinned to my traditional Mac OS is iTunes and iPhoto. I’ll deal with iTunes in a separate, follow up post.

I want to turn my attention to moving my iPhoto library to Goolge+ Photos.

Some immediate observations:

  • I want my digital life to be operated within the Cloud. I want a true multi-screen experience which means the device should be irrelevant to what information I can access. The device should be driven by what is best for the environment in which I want to interact with my data.
  • I am comfortable with housing my photos in Google. I am willing to pay extra for any necessary Cloud storage, so I can house the pictures in original format, quality, and size.
  • There are probably numerous ways to do what I describe below. I did enough research online to make my head spin. I wanted a process that was simple and straight-forward. It’s not perfect, but it works.
  • I am not trying to write a documentation manual. I am giving a brief overview of the steps I took to make the move.

I discovered two options to faciliate the transition. I could move my iPhoto library to Google+ Photos via:

  1. Google Drive (and then Google+ Photos)

Either way is plausible and works. I also want to note that Picasa is now Google+ Photos. Even though Picasa is still live, all the photos and images captured there will be transferred to your Google+ account. If you go to Picasa on the Web—at least at the time of this post—you will be redirected to Google+ Photos but can still go back to Picasa if so desired. This will obviously change over time.

Option A—Moving your iPhoto library to Google+ Photos via Google Drive

  1. Create a folder on your desktop labeled “iPhoto Library [Insert Date].”
  2. Export your iPhoto library to your desktop using the folder you just created. Be sure to choose original file type and highest quality available. Also, be sure to include your videos.
  3. When the export function is complete, drag the folder on your desktop to your Google Drive desktop sync folder.
  4. Wait for the sync process to complete.
  5. When it’s complete, everything is in Drive.

When you are ready to interact with your photos and videos on Google+, you can import directly from Drive within the attachment function available within each Google+ post window.

Option B—Moving your iPhoto library to Google+ Photos via Google Drive

  1. Download Picasa for Mac. (This is now unsupported but still works.)
  2. Choose “Batch Upload” to Picasa. (Remember, this is now Google+ Photos.) Be sure to choose to upload images and videos and allow for the original size, image/video quality, and image type.
  3. Watch the progress bar to know when it’s complete. (My iPhoto library was 26g. It took one full day to complete the upload process on high-speed cable internet.)
  4. When it’s complete, everything is now in Google+ Photos.
  5. Check the share settings in Google+ Photos to make sure the images you want private are only available to you.

You should know that the iPhoto export process and Picasa for Mac may mess up some of your photo organization structure. If that’s a big deal for you, then you might not want to take this step until Google enhances the ease at which you can re-organize your photos within Google+ Photos. For me, I wanted it done. I’ll clean up any organization issues later.

One Final Step

Because I am crazy about not losing data, I took my iPhoto library file and uploaded it to my Box.com account. I also copied the file folder in Google Drive with the exported iPhoto images and video and placed it on Box, too.

Between Box and Google Drive desktop sync, I have:

  • A local copy of all my images and video
  • A Cloud-based copy in Google+ Photos or Google Drive
  • An archive copy in Box.

Not a bad way to house, interact, and back up all my images and video in the Cloud.

Now you can rest easy since you are one step closer to living completely in the Cloud where—quite frankly—the likelihood of data loss is less, your ability to share your images and video is easier, and you’ll better optimize your workflow to maximize your Chromebook experience.

Have you made the switch from iPhoto to Google+ Photos? What was your experience like?