Picasa: “Failed to download album list”

If you are still using the Picasa 3 desktop application by Google and got the above error message, here’s some bad news for you: Google has finally killed this app. On March 26, 2018 they announced that it would no longer be able to upload new albums. So this error message is not temporary and there is no direct fix.

I think it’s very regrettable that Google has been killing off Picasa step-by-step. This is only the latest nail in the coffin. I had been using Picasaweb and Picasa since 2010 and they were great products.

The good news is that you can still create albums from folders using a web browser. Say you have a folder named “2018-03-26 Cherry Blossom Party”. Just follow these steps (for Windows and Chrome):

1) Select its parent folder in Windows Explorer, then slowly click on the folder that you want to upload, twice: Once to select it, then once more to enable you to edit the folder name as if to rename it. When the name becomes editable, press Ctrl+C to copy the folder name, then press Esc to keep the name unchanged. This stores the folder name in the copy-and-paste clipboard, which will save you from having to manually retype the name later.

2) In Chrome, go to https://photos.google.com/ and click on “Upload” (on the top right). A file selector dialog will open up. Click through to the contents of the folder you want to upload. Select all files in the folder using Ctrl+A and click “Open” to confirm the upload.

3) The browser will upload all files and give you a choice of “Add to album” or “Shared album”. Select “Add to album”. To create a new album with the name of the folder, select “New album”. Click on the album name showing as “Untitled” and use Ctrl+V to paste the name you copied in step 1. Hit Enter and click on the check mark to confirm creation of the new album.

Voila, you have a new album online, with the same name as the local folder. Repeat as needed for multiple folders. This is as simple as it gets without the old Picasa app.

33 thoughts on “Picasa: “Failed to download album list”

  1. So… should I be using something other than Picasa to edit my photos? Something that makes it more seamless with Google Photos?

  2. But the images uploaded with your method will only upload the original image and not the Picasa edited images.

  3. Thanks – works well

    BUT I’m going to find a better solution

    Bloody Google :~((

  4. Gary,

    If you edit the pictures with Picasa, you will have to export them to a temporary work folder first and upload from there. As for Firefox, it should work the same but I haven’t tested it.

  5. For a glorious period of involvement with a great product to end with the silky smoothness of lumpy sludge. Google lets itself down. Struggled to find what was wrong for three days. The transition to their preferred product should have been engineered so much better than this for adherents. Disappointment palpable. Its demise throws a sodden blanket over simple creativity.

  6. Do public APIs not exist to replicate these features? I’m just wondering why a 3rd party, replacement uploader hasn’t been crafted yet.

  7. WOW!thank god for this thread…spent HOURS trying to figure what was wrong. Very disappointed. Used Picasa for years!!

  8. Ugh.
    Thanks. I was wondering what went wrong.
    I also worked out that I can still upload, but it’s not as nice of a method as it is from Picassa, where I mark each picture as I work on it, and then upload all that I’ve marked…
    This will take more time (for folks like me who don’t upload whole folders, but select favorite pics) and that is a precious commodity I don’t have much of 🙁

    Thanks again for the info. At least I know to stop trying to figure out what went wrong.

  9. Joe, This issue has been bugging me for three days. Trying to upload Easter Pictures to share with my kids/grand kids. Kept getting darn error message. Did reboot on my computer. Tried a second computer and same bad result. Found your blog and tried it. Worked with Windows 7. Will try it tomorrow on Windows 10 computer. Thank you for solving this annoying issue. Google sucks for leaving us faithful Picasa users high and dry.

  10. Gal, when I upload only a subset of a particular folder, I usually do that via a two working folders. I first copy the complete set to the first folder, then go through that to select my favourites and move those to the second folder. I do another pass through the second folder to drop anything that isn’t quite up to scratch after all. The surviving selection is what I then manually upload.

  11. how such a gigantic company as google can turn something which was so easy (open picasa, upload complete folders as albums) into something so clunky is beyond me

  12. Stephanie,

    Everything you have uploaded will remain there, you just won’t be able to do upload new albums using the old Picasa application. The “Backup and Sync” application on PCs (Windows 7 and newer) and on the Mac is still supported.

  13. Thank you for your good advice concerning this problem.

    I get a problem though when I try to export a Picasa Album to a file in to use the method you explain. The problem stops with the error message: “Unable to write all files due to a disk error. The disk may be full or read-only.” I have enough space.

    It stops at the same picture in two different albums where it occurs, but after exporting different number of photos in advance. Also, I succeed in exporting this photo from the album alone. A similar irregularity occurs when trying to export other photos in the album alone or in a group.

    Thanks for any advice.


  14. Having experienced the problem this weekend, I did the necessary amendments in Picasa, exported the pictures to a file, and then on Google Photos, uploaded to a new folder. Worked fine, if a little long winded! Such a shame about Picasa, it was, is excellent for doing much work on photos and quickly uploading to albums, for amateurs and professionals alike. Haven’t come across any other programme as simple, and as quick. Come on Google, back track and give it back to us!

  15. This obviously must have something to do with Google profits.
    I guess Picasa was not crafted “Good enough” to collect your personal data to be sold for profit.

  16. Thank you for the info.

    It’s really convenient to use Picasa. Does anyone have suggestions on what tools or combination of tools can best replace it?

    Google wants to bring everything onto the web, where they can effectively own our data. All web companies keep selling “big data”, access from anywhere, etc. as reasons to put our data on the web. Well, most of these benefits can be implemented if my data is housed at my house, just that no one is developing programs that empower the user, they just want to milk our identities.

    It makes no sense that my own pictures should be stored far away from my computer, and I need to repeatedly upload and download the same large files many times just to take a look.

    For the files I want to share, sure, let me house it on the Net. But otherwise, it makes no sense. I don’t live on the streets. I work at my own computer.

    They create inefficiencies and waste power and pollute the environment, just to be able to mine my data.

  17. Gerald, I feel the same. Google and FB are getting more and more visibility on our personal data every day. AI will let them analyze that data in more and more detail, going back years, in ways that we can’t even imagine yet.

    I keep archives of all my photographs on servers that I own and physically control. I have yet to find an elegant solution that lets me directly share some of these albums on the web without duplicating all the files inside a database (it seems that most open-source and other products for publishing your pictures are PHP or similar scripts that pull your pictures from a MySQL DB).

  18. Avoiding to be overly judgmental, I am trying to find a one single justification for killing Picasa and the only one I found is Google’s striving to have all our photos (data) on their servers. OK, I can understand that. But they could have eliminate albums in Picasa and make an album being created anew to automatically upload to Google Photos. This way we’d still be able to edit pictures in Picasa and then keep the albums on GPh.
    I am still not sure what they’ve done is stupid or evil.

  19. Thank you for this fine workaround description. You might want to mention that – in contrast to former uploading out of Picasa – you ought to “store” edited pictures with Picasa out of Picasa back to file, before uploading them. (Your original picture will remain in .picasaoriginals.) Fritz@Joern.De

  20. Like the others that have commented, I just experienced Google latest attempt at “improving our graphic experiences”. What a shame! I’ve used Picasa for decades and it was always a great piece of software. Two months ago, a simple click got my Picasa photos on the web. And now? Is this all a bad joke? Google, please come to your senses.

  21. Why would Google kill such an excellent product and workflow
    How should I best edit pix before I upload to google photos?

  22. Hi,
    I really happy find this place, hope you able to help me.
    I used Picasa created many Albums, I had my own scripts on each photo.
    I hope to fine another tool or suggestion to recover those albums, I use Mac.

  23. Oh no. Thank goodness Google is still allowing your good work to be found on page one! Well, Google sells out to China and now I find Picasa has been emasculated. Wow Google, you once were the cool cutting edge company. What happened?

  24. To reactivate Gmail to email Picasa images, download the 64-bit version of Thunderbird email client, a beta version at http://www.m64.info and configure it to use either Thinderbird or Gmail choose Gmail.It works.

  25. Thanks so much! Just knowing that there WAS a parent folder on Windows Explorer was enough to allow me to figure out my own work around : ) (I feel stupid for not knowing that already – but very much appreciate that you did!) Thanks so much : )

  26. Is there another option that will be as easy as Picasa? I don’t want to put unedited pictures into web albums. I don’t know how to export photos to a temporary work folder first and upload from there. But this still won’t allow me to edit my photos. I have been using Picasa from 2004 and I can’t believe this is the end of my edited albums.

  27. Recently when I export my sequential Picasa-edited photos from the photo tray to a work folder on my desktop, the images in the temporary folder appear in random order. Any explanation?

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