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.

18 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!

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