Categories: Picasa for Windows :

How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter

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How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TCStuff 9/24/09 5:47 AM
I am in the process of naming the people in my photos and it is still scanning after almost a day and only at 45%. (I have a lot of photos)
I like this feature but do not want to go through this process again.  

Is there some type of name tag database that it creates that I can backup with my photos?
Is there a way to copy certain folders of photos including the name tags to another computer?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter jasondunn 9/24/09 7:41 AM
You've nailed the key problem with this new feature: it's only designed to work on one computer. The face information is a combination of the picasa.ini file (which can be copied to another computer) and the Picasa database...which can't be copied to another computer. For this reason, I'm not using this new feature...which sucks! :-(
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TCStuff 9/24/09 9:05 AM
If you copy your folders that have your photos including the Picasa INI file to a backup HD then copy them to another computer running Picasa would the name tags follow or is that part of the Picasa Database which cant be copied?  Question why cant the Picasa Database be copied and what is it called?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter weswitt 9/24/09 9:54 AM
It appears that Picassa writes the face location data to the jpg file, but the actual names are stored in the Picassa database.  This is better than using the web only solution, but still falls short of what I need.  I need to be able to share my photo collection across many PCs in the house and have full access to all the tags.  Really the tags belong in the file, NOT in a database.  I understand that Picassa needs a database to provide a good PC experience, but still the tags belong in the file.  Until this is provided I find that this is only slightly useful. I would even pay for an upgraded application to have this functionality.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter jaysiej 9/24/09 10:55 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for trying out Picasa 3.5 and thank you for your posts! We've put together this list of common questions on the topics you've addressed that we hope will be helpful to you.

Q: Is face tag data stored in the photo itself?

A: We currently do not store face tag data directly inside the photo but this is functionality that we hope to have in the future.

Q: Since my face tag data is not stored in the photo itself, where is my face tags data stored?

A: Face tag data is stored in the Picasa database and also in the .picasa.ini file in the folder where your tagged photo sits. To see the location of the photo on your hard drive and the .ini file where the information is stored, right click the photo and select "Locate on Disk".

Q: How do I transfer my face tags from one computer to another?

A: There are a few different ways to transfer your face tags:

1) You can perform a Backup of your photos and restore them on your new computer. This process will preserve your face tags. ("Tools" > "Backup Pictures")
2) You can copy your files *and* the .picasa.ini file from your hard drive to the new destination
3) Upload your face tag albums to Picasa Web Albums and download the album to the new destination

*Important note on option 3: In order for your contact information to be preserved you'll need to make sure that your contacts associated with your face tags are marked as "Online Contacts."  This means that the person is synchronized with Google Contacts.  After copying the photos to the destination computer, make sure you are logged in to your Google user account so that Picasa can retrieve your Google Contacts and update your face tags with the corresponding information. See reference section for more info on syncing contacts.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter hal07 9/24/09 11:11 AM
Hello. I am amongst the thousands of users that share a common pictures share on a server/computer in my household. What is Google thinking here? that we have a copy of all pictures on all computers? You need some kind of feature that stores common info on the top dir of a shared directory.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TCStuff 9/24/09 11:55 AM

Your post left me with more questions....
Option #1 - Backup of Photos.  I see that I can backup onto CD or DVD.  How can I back up onto an external backup Hard Drive?  I have 60 GB + of photos and that will mean many DVD's.  I would rather put it on my 500 GB HD.

Option #2
If I copy the files and the INI files and put them on a different computer or if I had to reload onto my existing computer would the name tags associations transfer with the INI files?  Is there a file I need to copy and  transfer that has my People Tag settings?

Option #3
This would not be a good options because I have too many photos and I want to have the original size of the image not a resized web copy.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Don Lind 9/24/09 12:08 PM
hal07 - While I agree completely that they need to support multiple computers and multiple instances of Picasa all working nicely with a shared store of photos on a NAS device, that's a separate issue...  It's not really related to face tagging in particular, or even with Picasa 3.5.  See these posts for some of the many discussions of this kind of thing:

TCStuff -
#1:  Backups to disk...  on the backup dialog, click the New Set button and define a disk-to-disk backup... and point the backup set to the drive letter that is your desired drive for the backup.

#2:  If you copy a whole folder of name-tagged photos from computer1 to computer2, you'll be copying the folder, the photos in the folder, and the .picasa.ini file that is in the folder with the photos.  The .picasa.ini file includes the name tag info for faces you've identified.    Picasa, on the new computer, sees the .picasa.ini file.  They're saying that the name tags will indeed be preserved in this case.  You'd probably have to be sure to have Picasa "logged on" to the same Google Account so that it saw the same address book info...   I haven't done the experiment yet to verify this.  You could try it pretty easily, though, with just one folder... to verify that that's ALL we need to move to the new computer.  I suspect they're right and that would work just fine...

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Don Lind 9/24/09 12:11 PM
My related addon question for face tags.

I see that the .picasa.ini file contains info on faces that I have identified (specified a name for).
But if I have a photo that has, say five faces found/located on it and two are identified (have names), how does this work?

I move the folder and the .picasa.ini file to the new computer.
Does Picasa, there, do the face recognition on the new photo, then look at the ini file, automatically grab the name info for the two identified faces?
And then, because it re-did the face recognition, it still shows me the other three guys, and I could then identify them if I wanted?
Or does it just forget about the other faces on that photo?
I could do the experiment to see, I guess.  :-)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter jaysiej 9/24/09 1:09 PM
Hi Don,

Thanks for the info in your previous post. To answer your question, when you copy the photo over, Picasa will immediately pull the named face tags out of the .picasa.ini file and tag those faces.  In the background, the face detection will eventually do a full scan of the image and will find all the remaining faces.  After this has
finished, you can then go and tag those faces as well. I'm sure you will find this when you try it out. If you run into any issues, let me know.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TCStuff 9/24/09 1:29 PM

One problem I have is that I have a lot of photos and scanning takes forever. I am into the second day and only at 47% scanned.  I hope it does not have to do a lengthy full scan again.  Is there any way to copy over a file that contains the previous scan data so that it does not have to scan again.  Once it finally finishes scanning I will try copying just one or 2 folders of photos over to test.  It may be best to do the backup to my External HD.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter BullRhino 9/24/09 6:12 PM
At some point Google/Picasa has got to find a way to attach this to the photograph or for many of us it is a useless feature.  Even just appending the names into the keywords would be a start.  Even if it doesn't have the face recognition feature in the photo, if there were some way that you could even email or send a disk of photos to family or friends and then they could view it in Picasa and get the face recognition with it so when the mouse moves near the face the square and name pop up. Even a small file that accompanied each photo that could be read by Picasa.  With all the amazing brains at Google I know they can figure that out.

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Mye 9/25/09 1:46 AM
I think I got the answer!
If you want to export Face Detection you must copy your photos with picasa.ini (or .picasa.ini) which stored in pictures folders. And copy DB3 (Picasa database)
In Windows /Users/%USERNAME%/AppData/Local/Google/Picasa2/db3/
in MAC /Users/%USERNAME%/Library/Application Support/Google/Picasa3/db3/

Picasa on startup will clean in up and you will have faces on photos

I Have Win and Mac on one computer. Different DB3 and same Pictures/
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter BrownBag 9/25/09 9:55 AM
Thank you Mye. I knew there had to be more than the .picasa.ini. With some sync software, this should allow me to use this across a couple machines. Here's to hoping we get the ability to share across computers using a NAS in the future. Just being able to specify where the database and ini file would go a long ways to helping out.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter magic52272 9/25/09 12:00 PM
What about for the mac? Where is the face data stored? Will a backup do the same thing for the mac, transfer all name data? Is there a faster way like backing up some data file in the picasa app folder?

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter jasondunn 9/25/09 2:23 PM
@Don Lind: Unfortunately, the picasa.ini file being moved to another computer doesn't give you the face information. That seems to be only part of the equation. It seems the main part of the data is locked up in the Picasa database. Unless I'm mistaken, there's ZERO way to make this Face Detection system work on more than one computer. Synching the Picasa database file doesn't seem like a good solution - what happens it you happened to have Picasa open on more than one computer, and you make changes on both machines? That could get ugly.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ptyork 9/25/09 4:40 PM
Yeah, kludging the system by copying the db3 database would definitely be a terrible solution unless only one Picasa instance actually edited photos and the other(s) were view-only. Any other possibility would seem to lead to some pretty serious potential corruption. There are already potential issues with overwriting picasa.ini files, but at least this is somewhat limited to a single directory and not to the entire system.

Jason, were all of your contacts "online" and were both of your computers signed in to the same google account? I could see how this scenario might be made to work technically even just copying the picasa.ini files. I'm looking at the "Contacts" section of the picasa.ini file and thinking that this is what it is for. Basically it contains an entry for every named "face" in that directory (each "faces" entry in the file points to one of these contacts) along with a link to the google account that it belongs to and the unique id of that contact within that account's contact database. That's everything it needs to make it work...assuming both computers are logged in to the same google account.

Of course, this would be even better if you could somehow share the photo contacts. For me it's no big deal since my wife and I both post photos to my Picasa Web album and thus both log in to the same place. For others who don't share albums, this is a broken solution.

One potential fix would be to enable people to allow others full (or even read-only) access to their contact database. Kind of a trust relationship similar to giving a secretary access to your calendar. Then the account information that followed the picasa.ini information would allow others to access the contacts, so long as they were granted access. Alternatively, you could assume read-only access to names, but only allow full access to contact information to the original "tagger". Or a combination of both. No matter what, though, it would seem that the solution needs to be a bit more robust than it is currently.

If you can't tell, I'm too chicken to upgrade my other computer to 3.5 for fear of losing hours of tagging, so I'm counting on others to do the testing for me. ;)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Oedious 9/25/09 5:00 PM
@jasondunn: Try removing and then re-adding the folder where your photos sit in Folder Manager.  This will force Picasa to rescan all your images, pulling the face tags out of the .picasa.ini file.

@ptyork: All your contact data is stored in db3/contacts/contacts.xml.  If you copy this file from the source computer to the destination, you'll have the same contact information.  This information, combined with what's in the .picasa.ini file is really all you need to transfer your facetags between computers. That said, the better solution is to use Google Contacts :)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Eric Bayard 9/26/09 1:31 PM
what happens when the disk is read only? There is no picasa.ini file, where can we find the info then and how to access it from outside picasa if possible (tying to make a script to read this info and write back the info on the photo xmp - I mean only the tag not the position of the rectangle)
Thank you very much
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter jasondunn 9/26/09 2:04 PM
AUGH! This POS forum system logged me out and I lost my rather long and detailed post. Sigh. At any rate, here's the much shorter version:

@Oedious: That works...kind of. What doesn't transfer over are all the ignored faces, so if someone were to use this method to push ID'd faces across multiple computers, they'd have to do a LOT of clicking to eliminate unknown faces. I really with Picasa would ignore faces less than "x" pixels in size - the program picks up on faces in huge crowd photos, making for a lot of extra faces that aren't important.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 9/26/09 2:14 PM
For those of you who are technically minded, I have submitted a proposal for a solution to sharing people tags.  You can find my rather technical proposal at the URL listed below....  I'd love to hear thoughts or ideas on this, to know if I'm way off base here or what...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter JMac 9/26/09 2:55 PM
So there is one contacts.xml file, and each contact is marked to sync or not.  What happens if you have two different people using the same computer with two google accounts?  Will the contacts that are added in Picasa and marked as "sync" end up getting added to both google accounts?  That could have some odd side effects - conflicting edits, etc.

More to the point of the thread:  I agree with the "it has to be in the file" theme.  Windows Live Photo Gallery has this functionality - it writes the info into an XMP block in the JPG.  I can take the JPGs from one machine, put them on another, and everything follows along.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter joeho 9/26/09 9:44 PM
It looks like the "faces" can be downloaded from Picassa Web, I was hoping this can be a 2 way process. Maybe we can use the "spare" space in Picassa web to store the faces and sync to any computer running picassa :) that would be nice :P
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter antisocialelement 9/27/09 10:47 AM

Although Picasa's people tagging is not portable, you can make it readable in software like Vista/7 and Acdsee.
Select all pictures of a person and press Ctrl+T to add a tag(keyword). This will add a permanent tag to the picture visible in most software.

I'm guessing like me, most people don't need to match name tag with actual face, just have a way to sort pictures by way of people. I believe this double method of tagging functions like a backup say anything were to happen in Picasa even on your own computer.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter veraonaid 9/27/09 12:37 PM
While I appreciate the workaround info (and feel it's a great idea as a sort of backup), I have to disagree on the usefulness of the face location information on photos.  I've recently spent a lot of time face tagging some very old scanned family photos.  The ability to show who each person is in thr photos of grandparents, great-grand parents and other extended family will prove invaluable to generations of our family yet to come.  I've been using Windows Life Photo Gallery to accomplish this ONLY because it keeps the information with the photo as XMP  data.  When I upload to Facebook from WLPG, all my face-tagging is preserved and shows up accordingly.  I'm a huge Google fan and if they would change this to support some kind of standard keeping the name/face tags with the photo (as was mentioned by a Google employee earlier in this thread), I'd switch in a minute to have the integration with my Google contacts etc.  If they'd update the Picasa Web albums to offer more of a Flickr/Smugmug experience (flat $ rate for sharing/backup of photos) I'd switch to that immediately as well for the integration with my other Google services.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Fremen9 9/27/09 11:38 PM
That's a pretty neat workaround idea...
I love it.
Of course its too bad picasa doesn't have an obvious way to backup the face tagging though.
I have a dual boot system, and I spent quite a bit of time identifying faces in picasa 3.5 on my Win 7 boot, but now that I'm running my Vista OS, it doesn't seem to know about any of those faces, though its using the same picture folders.  
Its currently scanning for faces, I'm hoping when its done it'll realize it already has a bunch identified
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DieBagger 9/28/09 3:49 PM
Does anyone know how to interpret the rectangle information in the picasa.ini files?

e.g.: faces=rect64(1d2142054b04944e), faces=rect64(67da5bb19546adb6), ...

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Oedious 9/28/09 5:44 PM
@DieBagger:  This is going to be somewhat technical, so hang on.
* The number encased in rect64() is a 64-bit hexadecimal number.
* Break that up into four 16-bit numbers.
* Divide each by the maximum unsigned 16-bit number (65535) and you'll have four numbers between 0 and 1.
* The four numbers remaining give you relative coordinates for the face rectangle: (left, top, right, bottom).
* If you want to end up with absolute coordinates, multiple the left and right by the image width and the top and bottom by the image height.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter dgaus 9/28/09 6:56 PM
This is an issue that needs to be fixed. I have copies of my photos on three computers and having spent hours identifying people I obviously don't want to do it again for each computer. As the photo folders are identical on all three computers, copying the DB file is an option for now - but highly undesirable.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TCStuff 9/28/09 8:29 PM
There needs to be a way to eliminate photos from being scanned especially if they are of lots of extra people like in a school play.  When copying photos and the DB File onto another computer hopefully it will carry over not just the recognized faces but the ones that are unrecognized or eliminated.  I would hate to have to manually eliminate all of those people again.
I have been using Picas even before Google purchased it and love it.  I am just hopeful that they can add the minor changes to make it better.  One other non-face detection related feature would be nice would be to make an image darker.  The slider is nice to quickly lighten an image, but I don't understand why you cant make it darker if needed.  Seems like it was overlooked.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter n95_user 9/28/09 11:36 PM
Simple export of face data in .xml  or whatever and then import on another pc would solve the problem.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DieBagger 9/28/09 11:43 PM
@Oedious: Thx a lot :)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DRAKK 9/29/09 1:53 AM
[ I really with Picasa would ignore faces less than "x" pixels in size - the program picks up on faces in huge crowd photos, making for a lot of extra faces that aren't important.]
-> THIS would be a VERY nice setting! I have lots of photos with a picture board in the background, so I get duplicates over and over. No way to fix this with 10k+ photos :(
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DieBagger 9/29/09 11:52 AM
Thx again oedious for your detailed explanation, I would have probably wasted a few hours before figuring this out :) ...

For the fun of it I wrote a small app which will extract all photos with face tags from a folders "picasa.ini" file and parses the hash values and rectangle positions. So if anyone wants to write an application to write this information directly into the files (xmp tags?) this may help you getting started ;).

Source and binaries included, hf!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter SoyUnPescado 9/29/09 1:08 PM
I was looking into the backup Name tags issue and I notice that if you use the Back Up Pictures functionality of Picasa 3.5 as suggested by "jaysiej" last week. This method will not update the picasa.ini file. This means that if you back up your files and after that you continue adding name tags, the new name tag information stored in the the picasa.ini will not be copied/updated.
I believe this is a bug of Picasa's back up function. Any suggestions? Where can I report this bug?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 9/30/09 12:42 AM
Tempting...  I'm in the middle of rebuilding my development VPC right now, so most of my tools are not installed.  But when I'm done with that, I just might put something together...
Have you looked at Ben Vincent's work, over at  I included a link below...  He's got some great information on how Windows Live Photo Gallery stores its information in the photos.  He wrote a web application to take that information and display it to users on a web page.
At a minimum, it might be nice to have a tool that takes Picasa's people tags and copies them in to WLPG people tags, so the applications will both function.
I have also submitted a proposal to the folks at Google, regarding a method for storing people tags within the XMP namespace.  It seems you might be a great person to evaluate that proposal and give some feedback on it.  Right now, it's just my unilateral proposal.  Of course =I= think it's great...  ;)  But with some discussion between technical professionals, we could probably come up with something even better.  I included a link to that below as well...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter albert9 9/30/09 9:56 AM
GREAT functionality for restoring collections in any computer! At last!

1- Create People Albums with the new face scan function.
2- For each person album add name tag to all photos in collection.

Now your photos carry the name in the IPTC keyword field. With any picture organization software able to read metadata (Irfanview,Adobe Bridge-Lightroom, etc ) you can search for the names you have written to your photos with Picasa. More importantly, Picasa makes it easy to re-create the albums by simply using the Search function which would select just those photos you had in the original face-scanned album. You can re-create the album from the search results.In any and as many computers where you copy just your photos.

Neat. at last!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/2/09 6:25 AM

Thanks for your proposals and all your work. I enjoy to read your posts.

@albert9 and all others

I'm almost finished with my small program written in .NET (despite Windows it should run on Linux too) which takes any number of pics or folders, checks for each pic if there are face definitions in the corresponding Picasa .ini file, reads the Picasa contacts.xml file and adds the equivalent XMP-MP tags for all faces in the pic to the JPEG pic file.

Furthermore, as an option, it adds all names as IPTC-Keywords (albert9: your proposal ;-) ).

This program uses EXIFTOOL for the tagging process, so the tagging itself should be safe regarding the problems with maker notes etc.

Anyone interested!?


Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter blueye 10/2/09 7:02 AM
hey andreas
that sounds very nice :-) i'd love to see and try your tool.
already many thanks for your effort :-)

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter basargunyel 10/2/09 9:30 AM
I would love to use it
 thanks a lot
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ndwalsh 10/2/09 1:28 PM
would love to try that - sounds like a great idea to write to the actual pic
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/2/09 4:58 PM
jaysiej, Google Employee (9/25/09) wrote: "...Q: Is face tag data stored in the photo itself? A: We currently do not store face tag data directly inside the photo but this is functionality that we hope to have in the future...."

I am a little concerned that if this feature is added all my photos (which have faces marked with a feature that does not alter the photo) will start to manipulate these photos based on the information stored in the ini files.  Will there be a warning at install to prevent this happening or should people with this concern stop using Picasa now so that they don't get caught out when this upgrade occurs?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ArtnKing 10/2/09 7:41 PM
Andreas:  Sounds great!  How do I sign up to be an alpha tester?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter pwright2 10/2/09 9:04 PM
Andreas:  Yes, of course I would like to try your software.  ----Paul-----
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter bogdan.ha 10/3/09 11:59 AM
PICASA IS THE NEXT GENERATION of SURVAILENCE SOFTWARE. YOU RUN A RED LIGHT ON A COMPANY CAR - THEY WILL KNOW IT - BUT THIS IS THE RIGHT (UNDERLINED) THING TO DO.  however they are missing "scan this photo NOW" and scroll on " add this to album person" ( which means 1000 clicks to go to 'Zake' name). Go on Picasa. "voice recogniton" is "dumb" compared to " face regonition". just thing how a person's voice 'sounds' in the morning, in the afternoon, after a '6-pak' or in the space. Go, Picasa, go.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TheCatWhisperer 10/3/09 1:17 PM
I run a home server where all my photos are backed up... Picasa's face detect solution does not backup the face information to the home server... so if my system crashes or I re-do my office machine.. i lose the face info on over 8000 photos?  Um.. BAD IMPLEMENTATION.

Please fix this and store the Face Detect info where it belongs... in the pictures..
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ronchicago 10/3/09 4:50 PM
I have many photos taken at fairs and parades and Picassa is detecting all the thousands of strange faces in these photos.  I need a way to remove a folder or album from the people matching process.  My only solution at the moment seems to be to remove the folder itself from Picasa, using folder manager.  So a new option in folder manager that "removes folder from people match" would be a very good starting point
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/3/09 6:00 PM

And a way of doing batch work based on folders rather than just the whole.  For instance when you want to ID some photos at a fair and ignore the rest, or when you want to confirm baby shots based on their folder (which because they are different points in time separates siblings faster).

Also on a related note if you double click on one of the ungrouped thumbnails in the collective "unnamed people" centre window it takes you to the photo, you then make a change, and because it hasn't been written to take account for the fact that the thumbnail will not be in the screen you return to, it scrolls you to the top of the group of thumbnails - it's time consuming to scroll down to where you were working previously / and a simple tweak.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/3/09 6:03 PM
FYI - you can use search to narrow the range of photos to a folder, but it doesn't seem to work properly - or in some cases hold the folder when you perform certain tasks - overall this is a great interface, just needs some more tweaks....
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ade_m 10/4/09 4:41 AM
Well.. I'd like any system that writes-back to the file to be part of a standard.

veraonaid mentions Windows Live Photo Gallery above doing it via XMP, and the tool by Andreas sounds interesting.

So far, I've tagged all my 20000 photos with IPTC keywords.  I'd quite happily replace those with face-ids, provided it works between different software packages.

What if Google suddenly decide to start charging for Picasa usage and I dont want to use that anymore...

Is microsofts method a "standard" ?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter mikeb_SF 10/4/09 6:26 PM
+1 on "they need to support multiple computers and multiple instances of Picasa all working nicely with a shared store of photos on a NAS device".  Come on--don't the programmers live in Silicon Valley with multiple computers at home??
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Cyberkuki 10/4/09 11:02 PM
I think, your program will be a good workaround and I hope you'll make it available for us.

But Google should implement this functionality in the next release of Picasa.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter stbe 10/5/09 12:28 AM
Google should not use picasa.ini for storing information at all. One might want to move pictures between folders which will break picasa.ini (at least when using Explorer or multiple machines)

I think due to privacy it might be useful to just store the face id in the file itself and maintain a contacts database separately. This way one can give away photos and detection/grouping is already done. Assigning names to ids is quite easy (compared to manual face detection/confirmation). Of course you need a 1:n relation between person (name) and face id if detection comes from another machine.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter virtus_ 10/5/09 10:35 AM
I tried copying the entire Pictures folder from my iMac to my MacBook Air as well as the contents of the Picasa application itself, just in case, but to no avail. When I launch Picasa on my MacBook Air, it starts scanning for faces without recognizing any of the ones I had already assigned to all of my photos on my iMac in the first place. Picasa team should understand that people might want to either use a NAS or have 2 exact libraries on a desktop and a laptop. Hence, the ability to sync information across 2 machines is essential in my opinion. At the same time, I'm surprised that manual synchronization of the Pictures folder and the contents of the Picasa application using ChronoSync didn't work. For some reason you just can't overwrite one database over another, which is in itself a rather unnecessary complication as opposed to having to click something like "File > Sync Picasa account." Hopefully, Google will come up with a solution in the near future.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Eule 10/5/09 12:13 PM
Great, would love to try you program. If you need any help with it let me know.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/5/09 4:30 PM
I have finished my first version of my program called AvPicFaceXmptagger which takes the Picasa face recognition data for picture files or even a complete directory tree and adds this data as XMP-MP to the JPEG picture files. As an option the people names are added as IPTC tags too. The actual tagging is done using exiftool.
The program is written in .NET 2.0. This program is free for personal and non-commercial use.

So anyone who is interested please check it out and have a try. Please try first with some copies of your pic files - it's the first version of my program and even though I tried hard to avoid any errors I need some people out there to test it. too. Please give me feedback. There is a comment feature on the end of my Wiki page.

Here is the link:
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Cyberkuki 10/6/09 2:26 AM
Danke! Wird getestet. (Thanks! It'll be tested)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/6/09 9:15 AM
I have simplyfied the URL naming schemes for the my Wiki page which hosts AvPicFaceXmpTagger. Therefore you can now use this more simple URL: Please share your thoughts, errors, problems or ideas after checking out this program.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter pwright2 10/6/09 12:55 PM
For people who may be following this thread, there is a bit of a fork here.  I for one have left a comment on use of Andreas' program on his Tagger home page.  Unless he expresses a preference to keep all comments here, you probably should check both places to see how it progresses.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/7/09 6:17 AM
A new version 1.1 of AvPicFaceXmpTagger is available. The most important improvement is that "alias" names sometimes defined and used by the Picasa software in contacts.xml and picasa.ini are now honored. Furthermore there are new tagging options for IPTC:Keywords and XMP-DC:Subject tags. You can get the version from the web site below. Have fun and please shares your experience.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter greenup 10/7/09 12:26 PM
having a tool like AvPicFaceXmpTagger is Very Cool, to help make sure faces are available to more than just Picasa.  It only slightly helps with the backup problem though, because backups are only meaningful if you can restore them.

The problem with backups is that they aren't important until they are VERY VERY important.  Doing them feels like a waste of time until you have a problem, and at the same time you are hoping you Never have a problem.  The backup process with Picassa (db and picasa.ini) is something I know that I'm going to drop off in doing; it's not automatic; I suppose I should just write a batch file that backs up and starts picasa, and use that, but I really feel google should be more on top of this.

(oh, yeah, I only imported about 1/2 of my picture collection, and it took picasa over a week to find all the faces, running all the time.  I've still got 26000 faces left to tag, and if I ever make a decent dent in that, it would be annoying to lose the work)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 10/9/09 7:21 AM
I have over 140,000 images in my library. I have a windows 2003 server that is my primary storage. My collection has just passed the 500gb mark. I have 5 or more PC's that use a network drive map to 6 folders on the server that each point to a time segment of the library (ie. drive M: has the years 2000-2002 pictures).

Each of the PC's running picasa (three are mine, one is wife's, one is daughter's) only have READ access to the server.

I want to share the face library with them all.

I DO NOT want my original images touched in any way shape or form. I DO NOT want any form of write or delete access to my library from any software. I want my images to be portable forever.

Imagine in 50 years when google is a company long out of business. I want my images to be mine and to work.

So, where on the client PC's is google doing or going to do their magic. I want to be able to take a google picasa overlay of my library. The key feature of picasa has been that it does not touch the original images.

btw, on another note. I discovered a valuable tagging feature in picasa. If you use lot's of tag type words in your image directory name that you put imported pictures into, picasa will use those words in it's search to select folders to display.

ie. I import pictures into a folder called "20091009 soccer emily school tournament". if i search on emily, only the folders with emily show up. Same for school etc. So, for years I have been tagging my folders this way rather than the images themselves - sort of like writing on the paper folder of printed pictures when they came back from being processed by the developer. It also makes the image library portable across all imaging softwares.

I hate lock in. I love open. I tend to think of my images in terms of what will they be used for in 50 years.

And this face stuff is so cool and works so well. I just can't see myself doing the scan and then the matching and tagging on 5 pc's. But i will never allow write access to my images.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter stbe 10/9/09 8:00 AM
In general one can think about storing all post-processing data in one or multiple overlays and let the user (or photo library admin) decide where to store which overlay. But this might be too generic to build some easy-to-use software like Picasa. Most users probably want the data stored together with the photos and the best way for this in practise is storing it into EXIF. This is the only way to make it work with different kind of photo software for now. Storing it grouped (e.g. central database or picasa.ini per folder) will break your database if you reorganize it using a simple file explorer (e.g. move files between folders or add files) or by using any other software that does not support all of these (new? proprietary?) additional databases. I think it might be ok to remove specific layers of meta information from the files itself and move it to a local database (e.g. Picasa contacts.xml), but if you want to save your photos for many years you need a way to sync this info into the photos or the information will be lost some time in future, when e.g. Picasa does not work anymore or works different or you use other software and there is no real standard for the data overlay.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/10/09 4:28 PM
Hi everybody, The new version 1.2 of AvPicFaceXmpTagger is available. I have added a dialog box which shows a lot of information for a selected picture. The most interesting feature is that it shows you the faces in the picture like Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery does. But you can select which source it should use (Piacsa or XMP) and you don't need one of these programs. Furthermore you can see and check the complete XMP data tree and all EXIF, IPTC and JPEG tags. You can even export the XMP tree or the complete tag list as XML to a file. If have added a bunch of screenshots to the AvPicFaceXmlTagger home page, so check it out and have a look there. As always: I would like to know about your experiences, good or bad, so please share them. Hope you'll like it. So long.... Andreas
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Daz Step 10/10/09 4:57 PM
@Andreas Thanks for your work on providing this application.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter pwright2 10/11/09 8:34 PM
Wow!  1.2 is astounding!  Thank you.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/12/09 11:16 AM
I have finished another version - 1.3 (and the last version for some time, except for error fixes) ;-) Here is the short changelog: * The picture information display dialog box is not modal for the main window anymore. The tagging process can be only started when no picture information dialog boxes are open though. * A new keyword list box holding additional keyword entries is available now. These keywords can be added to the IPTC/XMP keywords during the tagging process optionally. The keyword list can be saved to or read from a simple text file. * Now every EXIF meta data directory has a corresponding tab entry in the tab control (i.e. the GPS or the maker notes directories. * If the GPS location is available in the EXIF GPS directory, this location will be displayed on Google Maps. For more information and some screenshots for the new feature check out the home page for AvPicFaceXmpTagger using the link below. Hope I haven't added any bugs, but as always, please try out first using some copies or backup your data. As always, please share your results. Best regards, Andreas
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter MiMmoZ01 10/12/09 3:45 PM
After 1 week of work, my pc has tagged about 25000+ pics (Yes my PC is Very Slow)
Now I have only (!) 4500+ pics with unsigned faces.
I'm tagging them manually, but i'm very scaried to loose all this work.

I'm thinking that Andreas have done a great job, but why Andreas and not Picasa engineers ?
Maybe Picasa wants to become the First to have face recognition on End-User PC, but by now is the first Google-Application  that has been released with incomplete functionality.
We need a Google-style Picasa backup application, with the possibility to decide clearly what to do.

Thanks to Google (and Andreas) for Picasa 3.5 (Andreas Improved)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/13/09 10:47 PM
While I agree with how valuable Andreas' work is, I do NOT want Picasa altering my JPGs.

I am only using face recognition because it does not manipulate the JPG file; and will not be upgrading Picasa in future in case this changes without warning.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/14/09 12:28 AM
@112233 and all others who believe that tagging pictures is evil,

Honestly, I cannot understand your position. The tagging system (EXIF, XMP, IPTC, etc.) is exactly the right way to add information for your pictures. This doesn't really count as "altering" the picture, because the picture itself is left untouched.

Do you really wanna tell me that you never add comments, titles, GPS positions, etc. to your pics? Never?

I'm curious: please tell me, what are the reasons why you think that tagging pictures is unacceptable.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 10/14/09 6:06 AM
With regards to the issue of ANY program changing my image files,

1) I'm a computer guy. Software has bugs. It's because of of us humans. We always have to protect against the possibility of errors.

2) I am super careful with my images. I want them to outlast me. I have pictures and movies from my father than are 50+ years old. I want my images and videos to outlast me too.

3) When I take images off of my memory card to my computer, I store them on my laptop, my server and on a removable USB hard drive.

4) If I am shooting something important, I will take a copy to my laptop on location just in case my camera goes missing. I'd really like a professional grade camera that shoots images to two CF cards at the same time.

5) I have 140,000+ images. I'd be hard pressed to find even >1% of the errors that might occur during the tagging/update. Yes, the picture is unchanged but the tagging process does change the image file. It if was a tag along separate file, I'd be very okay with the process. Or can it be ? Is it ? I haven't actually tried it yet.

6) My pc's do not have write access to the images or directories that my images are in. The images are on read only drives. This protects from accidental deletion (kids) and mischief (viruses) as well as failure (hardware/windows).

That said, I am really into the face stuff and might add a face tagged layer to my storage approach. Yes, another copy saved on the serrver and served up to my pc's. I would still keep the originals intact, never touched and untouchable. I go by the motto, if it can't happen, it won't. If it could happen, it will.

So far I haven't been burned. And I do keep a copy of my images in a separate physical location too. I used to have a server in a second building. I should go back to that model. And I have over 30gb of images on SmugMug.

So Andreas, it's not about mistrust of your endeavors, just computers in general.


and keep up the good work. We need choices and options.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/14/09 7:33 AM

your position is really extreme - but I can accept this extreme position. From your point of view it makes sense.

But for all "normal" users dealing with pics and programs like Picasa, MS Photo Gallery, Photoshop and all other kind of software, tagging is something usual.

So finally you are right: we need choices and options!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/14/09 7:41 AM
Hi everybody, I didn't want to make another version so shortly, but some bug fixes made it neccessary. But there are some bigger improvements too. One thing worth to be mentioned here: the new program comes with exiftool already included. So you don't need to fetch your own version or put it somewhere on your computer. But you are still free to use your own version - in the option dialog you can choose what exiftool schould be taken. Here is the list of changes since the last version: * Starting with this version "exiftool" is included in the executable. When configured in the options to use the internal exiftool version, the internal exiftool is unpacked in the current directory or, if this is not possible, in the systems temp directory. Upon completion the executable will be deleted. * Bug fix: an error where an exception occured when a tag was found more than once. * Bug fix: the scrollbar in the contacts list is now shown. * Bug fix: the GPS latitude and longitude fields are now shown in full length. * It's now possible to start the tagging even though no face definitions are available for the pics in order to be able to just tag files with the additional keywords. * Bug fix: the additional keywords list dialog elements were not positioned correctly on resize. * Bug fix: the auto orientation handling for the pics has been corrected. * It's now possible to select multiple persons. All persons selected will be shown in a highlighted rectangle. All persons can be simply selected by pressing CTRL-A. * When the mouse hovers a face the name tags for all faces are shown. * Bug fix: XMP keywords are now written and read as UTF8. * Bug fix: IPTC keywords are now written and read as UTF8. * Now all JPEG files (with extension .jpg and .jpeg) are processed for tagging. Previously only files having a definition in picasa.ini were processed. Non JPEG files are silently ignored when trying to add them to the file selection list. * Added command line flag "-c " with which the inifile can be specified. * Added command line flag "-r" which enables recursive subdir scanning when scanning for files in a directory. * Added command line flag "-R" which disables recursive subdir scanning. * All non-options (words not starting with a hyphen) are used as JPEG files or directories and will be added to the file selection list. With this option you can easily create a SendTo link in Windows. * You can now configure the Windows Explorer context menu in the options dialog box. Whenever you right-click on a JPEG file or a folder you can select AvPicFaceXmpTagger from the contect menu. This feature is disabled by default. Have fun! Andreas
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter MiMmoZ01 10/14/09 8:21 AM
I suppose that all your images are in RAW format, because also camera itself  process image to save pictures in flash card.

Ok I'm joking, but...

I fully agree with you to keep a separate copy of images on a physically  separated unit, and so done, everything happens to te pictures is recoverable.
Tagging photos is very useful for many purposes, and the risk of operation is less then the advantage you earn.
I keep my pics on 3 External HDD (1 TB each), the only work I need to do is once a week to make a incremental backup.
Doing in this way I changed a lot of PC and HDD , but my pictures (from 2001) are all still visible, and by now ready to be tagged thanks to picasa (and Andreas).

For the future I'm not so sure that someone will be interested to see me while I'm fishing or biking.

Nice Tagging !!!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter vendornet 10/14/09 12:06 PM
If the information is stored in .picasa.ini fail in the same directory as the picture, what happens if I move the picture to another dir?

There should be an option to modify the jpg or not and to be able to insert this data in the picture. There must be also a tool to clean any such data in a jpg just in case we want privacy when sending/uploading photos.

What do you think?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/16/09 3:01 AM
Neternity thanks for providing an example of why users might not want to have their JPGs modified.  

Google, will you be warning users if future versions of Picasa make this change - or even better provide it as an option.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/16/09 3:41 PM
Hey, be real, Picasa is already modifying your pics. Whenever you add a keyword or enter a caption, when you set the geo-position, you always modify the tags in the pic immediately. So Picasa will not really change anything when they decide to store the face data as tags too.

BTW, Picasa badly screws up some tags when writing tags. So be warned.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/16/09 3:52 PM
Andreas - good point, which is why I don't use the tagging or mapping features (except to play around with a few duplicate photos)...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter 112233 10/16/09 4:04 PM
... actually, it would be really cool if there were a "read only" function you could set (preferably by folder(s)).  Then I could load Picasa on the computers of friends who are either afraid of (or likely to) damage their photos by mistake.  Picasa is a bit like an art gallery with paint cans laying around - a way of managing photo viewing vs changing photos (incl. Basic Fixes, Tuning, Effects, etc....) would be useful.  

((nb. I was happy to discover recently that the left hand tabs (when viewing a photo) can be hiden - a bit like putting the cans in a cupboard, which is part way there in terms of a safe/carefree viewing environment))
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter stbe 10/17/09 4:58 AM
Maybe you could use read-only permissions (file attribute or file system permissions). Otherwise you could use a backup.

Generally, I think it would be ok to have two options in Picasa: "[x] warn when I modify pictures (irreversible pixel changes/edits)" and "[x] warn when I change meta data (tagging/EXIF)"
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter malixe 10/17/09 11:10 AM
Disappointing.  I was excited to hear about the nametagging feature being added to Picasa, but after surfing through this forum I see that it's bit of flash and a bit of hype, but essentially useless for any practical application.   I have shot a series of events for several years and some of the people who participated in the early days are no longer with us.  It would be greatly valuable for historical purposes to be able to name-tag all the images in individual folders, but I would need to be able to share the folder (on disc) with other people who could name some of the folks whose names I don't remember or didn't know.   And I would need to be able to do it *simply* so that the folks I would be sharing with, who may not be highly tech-proficient could participate and share without having to know how to manage .ini files and manipulate databases.

The name tags need to travel with the individual files.  Anything else is just pointless techno-fluff and not worth wasting my time over.  I'm sorry this is all you've got and  I hope that you try again soon and get it right.  I would love to see this feature added to Picasa in a way that is actually functional.   I love a lot of things about Picasa, but this is just disappointing.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TheCatWhisperer 10/18/09 6:52 AM
@jaysiej: The backup[ options you present probably won't work for me.  I run Windows Home Server, all of my photos are stored there.  My windows 7 box maps the photo share on the WHS box to its "my photos" folder.  This allows me to only store one copy of the photos (actually, they are mirrored on the office pc, and the WHS is set to duplicate (weird WHS raid) the photos folders).  Now, the Windows 7 box is where Picasa is located (had I known about this issue in the first place, I'd have run Picasa on the WHS and remote desktop to it).  I want to re-do my Windows 7 box (upgrade from the RC1 to the RTM/Release build.  But your instructions mean I'll actually be backing up the photos from the WHS.. there is no need for this and it would actually be wasteful.  What I want is the same as everyone else (with the exception of the paranoid people who don't want their photos touched..) I want the face data stored in the EXIF block, so it travels with the photo.. this would also allow my g/f to take some of the tagging burden on her PC.  In the mean time, I would settle for a solution that allows me to backup and restore Picasa while leaving my photos on the WHS (where they belong).

A side note: This face tagging debacle really is an epic fail on Google's part.  The PM on this really should have stepped in and either had the Devs do it right, or cancelled the feature.  I can't even fathom in what world it is okay to store data about a file in a separate DB that can be lost, corrupted, etc and not even warn the user BEFORE they waste 12 hours of their life tagging thousands and thousands of photos.  I am seriously disappointed here.

PS The tool that Andreas made is neat, but it doesn't seem (unless I just missed it) to allow the import of the extracted data back into picasa??  The only thing it seems to do is push the data into the file so other programs can see it... ??
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TechBhaal 10/18/09 8:44 AM
I must support Neternity and 112233 here. The main feature of Picasa to a lot of people, is that it does NOT touch the fotos.
I hated it when they included the "Save" button somewhere around version 3. Just the thought of accidentally hitting it...
I was not aware that tagging and mapping wrote directly to files. I guess I never used it.

While it may be simpler to write tags to images, it makes it impossible to detect if pictures have been tampered with.
I you had ever tried (as I have), accidentally finding that 2-300 out of 10.000+ pictures was changed (by a virus as it happens),
then you would propably also be paranoid. The change was not visible when viewing the images...
Had I not been able to do a compare to a nother store of the images, and find the changes, I'd been in serious trouble (Btw: "Beyond Compare" is both a piece of genious, a lifesaver, and a gem of a tool. Since discovering it 2 years ago, I now have no idea how I ever did without).
If you have not been there - fine. But sooner or later, chances are you might.

If all you images chance whenever you organise them, what will you do with backup? Just let it update the backup whenever there is a change? That makes it quite propable that the virus will have infected all your backups, by the time you discover it.
This is just not acceptable to anyone who really values their photos. Although propably most don't think about it.
It's like teeth, until you start loosing them, you won't really appreciate how important they are, or how carefull you SHOULD have been :-)

Anyway, I love this face-tagging, and except for the serious problem of loosing "ignored" faces in crowd images, I'm happy that at least most of the info will be available in the picasa.ini files. On rescanning, the computer will find the assigned faces, just not the names. So I just have to resupply the names.

But some options about where to store metadata would be very welcome! Why not just have checkboxes for in-image tags, picasa.ini files, central DB, and maybe individual "sidecar" files? Then we could just select the place we prefered to keep it? Maybe even with ability to choose several locations, and some sort of sync ability... *dreaming*.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TheCatWhisperer 10/18/09 9:49 AM
Here's an idea, if you don't want to use face detection, then don't.  But those of us that do want to use it, want it to work right, and that means saving the info in such a way that it is not lost if the file is moved, copied, or accessed from another machine.  Otherwise it is pretty useless, as in most cases the user IS going to change machine, or move files, edit them in anther program, etc.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter vendornet 10/18/09 10:47 AM
As I wrote before, I really like the tagging info to be put in the jpg file, but as I think more I realize that all my photos with tags are associated with my gmail contacts, so if the info is stored in the jpg and I give that file to a friend he would see only nicknames or e-mails. I think that this is one of the reasons why that info is not stored yet in jpg, because it is tied with your gmail contacts.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TechBhaal 10/18/09 11:03 AM
Where did you get that? As I said above: "I love this face-tagging".
I'll add that I've spent a LOT of time using it too!
Actually, I think most of the algorithm and UI is quite brilliantly implemented as well, and I know that the few bugs and wrinkles are being worked on as we speak (the fast update cycle since 3.5 testifies to this).

But Picasa has ALWAYS been based on the picasa.ini files... Its the whole premise of the program - what makes it Picasa and not Windows Live Photo Gallery.
All changes to images: rotations, crops, lighting, effects etc. are stored in the picasa.ini files, not the fotos. Which means unlimited Undo and NEVER a lost photo.
Thats what I and many others love about Picasa.
Unfortunately it's not a standard.
And it IS a hassle to move this info along with the pictures, basically it means using Picasa instead of explorer, and using Export whenever giving files away. But thats Picasa, and thats what we've grown used to.
Why should Google change that cornerstone of the program now?
Noone wants to loose anything - thats why Picasa has a backup function. And third party whole-disk backup works as well I guess.
Accessing the photos from another machine only has basic face-category functionality (which I would LOVE to see improved).

But as much time as I use on touchup and face-assignment, it pales in comparison to the time spent taking the photos in the first place.
And where all this work in Picasa can be done again (shudder), there is NO way to take the pictures from your honeymoon again. Or thoose of your newborn child.
Thats why the safety of the pictures will always come first, to most people (but not all, I guess).

However as I said, an ability to do both should be possible, and not much hassle either, so I'd hope Google works on that.
And support for having the whole photolibrary on a NAS or WHS disk, must be Googles top priority... I'd hope.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter stbe 10/18/09 11:32 AM
@TechBhaal: What has this virus thing to do with Picasa? If you have a virus or any other software that changes your photos, they get changed. You have to use backups to make sure you can recover your files. Or you have to really make them read-only (by file system).

I see the point of having reversible modifications or having the possiblity to get some original photo back. But I do not share the opinion that the picture files itself should be read-only to Picasa. If you want, make them read-only by other means. Current picasa does change the photos already, e.g. when removing red eyes. There are some picasa.ini on-the-fly modifications but I personally think they make working with the files even harder -- you cannot use other software to use the pictures anymore (without loosing those changes). Picasa already makes backups for files that get changed. Maybe there could be some option to have this kind of backup for tags etc, too. If you put many hours of your lifetime into tagging all your photos and identifying faces etc. you probably do not want this data to get lost. And I'm quite sure you still can use EXIF data in the far future. But do you still use proprietary Picasa.ini files then? It's never good to rely for this on one single proprierary formats/software that might be taken out of the market anytime. Thanks to Andreas at least we can get the face data out of Picasa.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter McCaskey 10/18/09 4:25 PM
DANGER: when upgrading to Windows 7, Picasa might need to be reinstalled. Don't use to reinstall Picasa. Pack installs version 3.2 of Picasa, not the current version of 3.5. The older version will corrupt the database and eliminate all name tag information.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter wjglenn 10/18/09 9:54 PM
Well, I performed a bit of a test on the networking/sharing in Picasa. Here are my results for those that are interested.

I put three folders with about 5 pics each on My Windows Home Server. I installed Picasa for Windows on 2 computers that did not already have it. On those two computers, I mapped home server folders with the pictures because Picasa can't see the network without mapping network drives. No big deal.

Both test computers had no other pictures on them, so the only watched folder was that network drive pointing to the server folder.

On computer #1, I did the following:

* named the people whose faces Picasa scanned
* added locations for several pics
* Added tags to several pics
* Added stars to several pics
* Created two albums
* Edited a few pics in obvious ways (made one B&W, etc.)
* Added a caption to several pics

I then fired up Picasa on computer #2. Everything except albums were shared. People, locations, tags, stars, edits on the pics, and captions were all visible on computer #2. I was surprised about the stars being shared, but that's okay.

A couple of notes:

* If I named a person on one computer and that person was not in the contacts on the other computer, I had to create a new person. The naming was there - it just didn't know the name until I put it in.

* Tags did carry over, but having a Quick Tag on one computer did not create a Quick Tag on the other computer.

And now here's where things seem to fall apart.

I made some changes to pics on computer #2 - named a new person, starred a few more photos, did a few tags, edited a couple of pictures. After 20 minutes, those changes have not yet come through on computer #1. I tried closing Picasa and reopening it. The changes still haven't come through. I see no way to refresh or force a scan.

I also tried editing the same picture from both computers at the same time. I took the same picture and on computer #1 I did a soft focus effect. On computer #2, I did a B&W effect. Applied the changes pretty much simultaneously. Both computers let me do it and those changes show up on the computer where I did the change, but don't reflect on the other computer.

I'll wait some more and see if things get updated. However, if I were to draw a conclusion right now it would be that when Picasa first scans a folder, it does bring all the Picasa information that might be saved with those pictures (except albums) with it. But after that initial scans, each computer seems to keep its own database of information. No changes I have made after the initial scan (tagging, people, locations, captions, everything) have come through to the other computer.

It's pretty disappointing. I want to keep my photos centrally stored on the WHS. I also want to use Picasa on each of our family members' computers. I don't mind if albums and stars cannot be shared, but it's ridiculous if people, locations, and tags aren't shared. If someone puts the work into doing that on one computer, why have to redo it on the other computer?

We love Picasa, but this will end up being a dealbreaker for us.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter wjglenn 10/18/09 10:01 PM
Update on my overly long post above :-).

I removed the folder from the watch list on computer #1 and readded it. All the changes I originally made on computer #1 and all the changes I made on computer #2 did come over with the new scan.

So, it is possible to share Picasa information the way I want to. However, it seems the only way to do this would be to:

* make sure only one person on the network is in Picasa at a time.
* remove the network folder and re-add it each time you fire up Picasa on any computer (and wait while it scans those thousands of pics).
* clean up the People each time because it does end up duplicating a few of those.

Yeah, right...

So, c'mon Google. Give us good local network support and this will really be a killer app. Plus, I'd be your best friend forever :-)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter stbe 10/19/09 12:25 AM
@wjglenn: You should try to move a picture from one folder to another using Windows Explorer.

The current situation is far from "best practise" because information is arbitrarily stored in different locations: within the picture (e.g. some edits, geotags), picasa.ini (e.g. brightness, face ids), local contacts.xml (names for faces) and some other local information which might not be as important or just a cache (big picasa database). Google should reduce this to "within the picture" (suitable for long time archiving) and a local database for caching thumbnails and other non-important data (stars...) etc.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter basargunyel 10/19/09 4:44 AM
you are completely right, and things should be "optional". the user should decide to write name info on the picture, or to keep the original and rescan everytime. meanwhile, keeping the originals of pictures should also be "optional". things will be so easy that way...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 10/19/09 6:39 AM

I would support to write the face data to the Picasa database, but this is not possible due to Picasa. There is no api and no way to do this.

Please convince the Picasa development people that they should support this and give us an API for Picasa.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter TheCatWhisperer 10/19/09 6:45 AM

Hey man, it looks like you've done a great job. I'm not knocking your app, its not your fault Google pulled this crap ;)  At least you are being proactive in helping people preserve their data!

I just want Google to fix this rather poor oversight ;)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 10/19/09 8:18 AM
Is anyone from Google/Picasa on this forum ?

I think there is an emerging knowledge that there are three use models for picasa:

1) on a pc, with a local or usb connected collection of images
2) on a home network with many pc's sharing read/write access to images
3) on a network with many pc's sharing read only access to images

Picasa does #1 wonderfully.
Picasa does #2 rather poorly, what happens is not by design
Picasa does #3 very poorly in that it needs to update the images to share face info but then shares #2's issues

So, what will happen next ?

Do other's on this forum concur with my take on the matter ?

Ps. I do love Picasa and will continue using it.

Ross (Neternity)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Al W 10/20/09 10:50 AM
To Neternity's scernios, there should also be a consideration for multiple users (family members) sharing the same computer.  I would prefer to have a shared tag and face model with users on the same computer for the same pictures.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Ch1lled 10/21/09 4:29 AM
I'll start by declaring a preference for no changes to the JPG files stored on the disk. And I fully accept that some people will want storage on the file.
But... taking this back to the issue of faces and backing up that information and/or making it portable, a suggestion.

The picasa.ini file holds the rectangle definition on a per file basis. That provides the first component of the portability. The second element could be achieved if that same ini file held the equivalent of "Faces Recognised in this Folder". If such a list were to accompany a folder of pictures when copied from one machine to another, the task that then needs to be achieved is to read that list and integrate into the second machines database. It does mean that tagging a new collection should not take place simultaneously on two machines - but there would be no reason why you couldn't do some of it on one machine followed by some on a second; so long as you sync the ini files before moving to the next machine.
It's hard to believe that reading the "Faces Recognised in this Folder" from the ini file and integrating into the local Picasa db would take any significant amount of time. Certainly should be less time than that taken when generating thumbnails.

If a picture is moved, the logic should update the ini file if it results in a new "Faces Recognised in this Folder" value.
If a name is deleted from the database, I would expect it to update the ini file when the folder is next opened, removing the name from the "Faces Recognised in this Folder" section of the file.

It's just a thought and no doubt it would need further  - but perhaps it might go some way to addressing portability.

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter stbe 10/21/09 7:02 AM
@Al W: Multiple users is a general issue. I think one can ignore whether people use the same physical machine (multiple logins) or different machines when accessing a central storage. Most people probably want the same Picasa experience in both cases.

@Ch1lled: There are many ways to implement synchronisation or import/export of picasa.ini data across users. The simultaneous-multi-user-multi-machine access can be implemented straight forward when storing all data in JPG: just lock the file during update (default on most OS) and be fault-tolerant to locks.

There is a world beyond Picasa.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Ch1lled 10/21/09 7:44 AM
@stbe: Surely it's not just synchronisation of the ini file. It's the fact that the contact definitions are stored in the database and that is not easily transferable between machines.
There's a world beyond Picasa - yes. And a world beyond JPG as well. I could take pictures in RAW and JPG and store the RAW away as the ultimate backup copy. But my original point was that I would rather maintain the JPG in its original state and use the fact that Picasa provides an "interpretation" or "overlay" through its ini file. Yes, storing the data on the JPG alleviates the issues associated with sharing; improves the portability of the file etc, but at a cost that many on this thread do seem to be willing to contemplate.

My suggestion, where additional info is held in the ini file, maintains that JPG in its unaltered state. If Google were to offer an either and/or approach of ini file and jpg then people could chose as they see fit. Surely choice is a good thing?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 10/21/09 8:11 AM
I have been reading and reading and learning through this discussion and I had a small light bulb go on.

I realised that I switched to RAW using my Nikon DSLR and am recording NEF files, I don't do jpg anymore.

Picasa is doing face recognition with these.

I switched a few months ago and Picasa seems not to care whether my faces are in a jpg or nef file.

And my images are on a shared but read only network drive.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter MrKuenning 10/23/09 3:15 PM
I would LOVE to see cross compatibility with the LIVE gallery.   It stores the faces in the photo.  I use both galleries for diffrent reasons and I think that Google should adapt to use the same Tag info.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ofabro 10/27/09 7:40 PM
Hi guys, after reading the whole tread, I've got a question. I concluded two things

1. it seems "smart' to add information on faces/geotag/etc in each file/picture. Some are against it because we add "other information" instead of maintaining the file with pure image, but if each file can work independently we don't rely on folder estruture, mac/pc, etc.

2.  It seems logical to have an index file combining all the informations. This makes faster to group similar data and to manage it. It also has advantages as keeping record of ALL changes picasa has done in the picture.

Why can't Picasa simply add these two features? If each picture has an unique number (idea exposed before) the central index (picasa.ini) can refer to them. The Index, however, will manage all the information not necessarily related to the ID. If the user wants to add more information to each picture other then an unique number (let's say, ID number, etc) it can opt in for that. It gains control over the machine in case Picasa is no longer supported in the future. If not, Picasa can do the job.

Does this option seems to fat away?

Thanks! fabro
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 10/28/09 7:30 AM

I can understand your desire not to want your images written to by software that may or may not be around in 50 years.  I get that.  Totally.  I also get why your drive shares are all read-only.  I have kids...  That's a no-brainer...  ;)

However...  I think it is important to realize that the storage of all of this "metadata", as it is called, is done in an area of the file that is basically treated as an "attachment" to the image.  When the EXIF/IPTC/XMP portion of the image file is updated, the portion of the file that stores the actual pixels of the image, is never touched.  So...  In 50 years, if Picasa isn't around, the pixel data for the image could still easily be extracted by (presumably) any image editing software.  Additionally, if the other data such as tags, people, and geolocation data is stored in a standardized format, it could very easily be read and even re-written into newer formats or standards at that time.

I don't think of updating the EXIF/IPTC/XMP headers of my images as the same thing as changing the image.  It's basically just like taking your old photo prints and putting them into a new photo album.  Or like updating the paper sleeve of a DVD case.  The DVD itself is not changed, but the paper sleeve has additional information on it.

I understand that allowing software to access your image library is a risky thing and the main concern is corruption/loss of the images.  That is always a concern, but should often times be addressed with regular backups, or implementation of RAID arrays, etc.  It is highly unlikely that your hard drives that store your photos will even be working after 10 years, let alone 50 years.  So it's important to have a backup plan anyway.

I've worked for very companies that have data centers full of computers.  Most of them have a schedule to replace hard drives once they reach about 5 years of life, because beyond that point, the chance of catostrophic failure starts to increase.  They usually have one guy who's only job is to go through and replace a few hard drives each day.  At the end of 5 years, he's made his way back around to the first drive he replaced and the cycle continues.  That may be a bit more aggressive than the average home user, but the concern still applies. If you are still using the same physical hard drive after 5 years, you should probably think about replacing it.

I know this is way off topic for this forum, but I thought it should be noted...


I included a few links for those interested in the likelihood of hard drive failure and what one should reasonably expect.  Feel free to GOOGLE for a few million additional references...

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 10/28/09 7:38 AM

stbe wrote: "Generally, I think it would be ok to have two options in Picasa: "[x] warn when I modify pictures (irreversible pixel changes/edits)" and "[x] warn when I change meta data (tagging/EXIF)"

I think that would be perfect!  Simple and straight forward.  (KISS)

Anyone who doesn't want Picasa to modify their image, simply make the file read-only on the hard drive.  That's already built into every operating system in use today.  No reason for Picasa to implement that as a feature.  If you're really concerned, write copies to a DVD before letting a friend play around with them.  That's just common sense...

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 10/28/09 7:48 AM
I'd say you are totally on topic here.

The beauty of the technology world we live in is that it changes all the time yet stays the same.

Drives last longer today than years ago but they still fail, houses catch fire, thieves steal computers, viruses wipe out files and people make mistakes. So yes, we must, must backup, copy off-site and refresh our media. Even our old video tapes and 8mm film movies decay over time.

The good news is that the cost of refresh is trivial compared to the original cost of storage and it just keeps getting better.

I started my first serious storage started with an array of 100gb drives to give me 1tb. My offline storage today is two 500gb  pocket drives. My on-line storage uses 500gb drives and mirrored servers rather than mirrored drives.

Next refresh will likely be 2tb drives. Disk capacity has kept up with my image library growth. And it's greener too. I can fit my entire library in an envelope.

I agree, when we look at valuable digital files, we need to look at the total lifespan of the file and how will we recover from every event that may happen.

I am starting to come to the conclusion that the only solution will be to have an archive of the original file as it came from the camera and a second live file that picasa or other trusted programs are allowed to write to. It will increase the storage requirements but inside the file seems to be the place to put the metadata.

One beserk (??spelling??) metadata update could destroy the live versions and with that eliminate years of face matching as an example. We need some sort of match, update and lock mechanism. This live updating, always have write access model is not one that I am confortable with.

So even if I maintain an archive of the original and let picasa update the metadata of the live version, I still don't want picasa to have write access all the time because if picasa can write, so can a lot of other programs.

great discussion, btw

ross (aka neternity)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 10/28/09 8:06 AM

I agree, that perhaps an option to "either or" would be nice.  But we are all forgetting that in many cases Picasa DOES change the file already.  As someone already mentioned, the red-eye reduction filter automatically applies the change to the file.  I have not personally verified this, but if that is true, I don't ever seem to recall being asked if I wanted to save that change to the file or not.  But if this is true, then Picasa must have broken their "no touch" mold a while ago...

I do understand that some people do not want their originals changed.  I get that.  And for those people, perhaps Picasa should run in a "read only" mode, to prevent accidental image manipulation.  However, the file system read-only flag will already solve this problem and is built into your operating system.  And it will prevent ANY changes to the file, by more than just Picasa!  Photoshop won't be able to edit the image, Windows Live Photo Gallery wouldn't be able to edit the image, etc, etc.  Any software that honors the operating system would be prohibited from changing the file.  A virus might circumvent this, but I doubt that even a virus can change a file on a read-only network share because the machine doing the sharing won't allow any changes, regardless of the virus infection on the local computer.

So I would suggest that anyone concerned about changes to their files, simply use what the operating system already provides.

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 10/28/09 8:27 AM

Sorry...  I can't remember where I read it above, but someone mentioned the ability to define where the user would like their metadata stored.  This sounds like a pretty good idea.

Some might want it stored in the INI file, so that the original images are never altered.  There are some very good arguments for this type of operation.  This option would, however, require that all operations upon an image be performed by Picasa (i.e. moving, copying, emailing, etc.) because Picasa would be the only application that knew about the metadata and what image it goes with, so it can move it to another INI file if the image was moved.

Some might want the metadata stored permanently to the image file.  There are some very good arguments for this type of operation as well.  These users could move files around on the operating system through Explorer or other tools, they could email the photos with whatever software they wanted, they could zip a few up and send them to grandma, etc.  The metadata would stay with the image and therefore would be available no matter what happened to the image.

I guess the same thing could be configured for "image manipulations" as well as the metadata



In any of these cases, Picasa MUST recognize changes made to an image or INI file, from another computer, within a reasonable timeframe.  Users shouldn't have to remove folders from their watch list and then re-add them just to get the changes to propagate to a second computer and/or user.



Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter N8WEI 10/28/09 11:29 AM
@(someone)  ...continued...

Thinking some more about this, I wanted to clarify that my thoughts regarding storing information in the INI file structure would be that the INI files are all stored with the photos.  So users that choose to store their photos on a network share and access them with multiple copies of Picasa, or different users on the same machine, or whatever, would be able to make sure that the information was automatically synchronized between users.

I presume that this is made fairly clear by my soapbox rant about not storing any information in the proprietary Picasa database.  The Picasa database is fine for items required by Picasa for performance, but should not contain the master copy for any data.  Any metadata concerning an image (title, keywords, tags, people, geodata, whatever) needs to be stored together, in a portable format that is not dependent on the user's specific installation of Picasa.

To elaborate a bit further...  For those people who choose to keep their image libraries in read-only mode, the INI file couldn't possibly be stored with the images, so there would need to be a third option that would store all of this information in an alternative location.  Perhaps specifying a file folder somewhere, that Picasa can use to throw the INI files in.  It could either create a duplicate folder structure and only store the INI files there, or it could combine the information into a single file or set of files.  (XML anyone?)

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter samacur 10/29/09 2:08 PM
I am yet another person using a networked directory of my photos.  I can access this directory from multiple computers and I want the photo information (name tags, tags, photo edits) to show up no matter which computer I access the photos from, without making the files completely proprietary to Picasa.  I hope this can be impemented soon.  I was so excited about the name tag feature, but now, not so much.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DaveWP196 11/2/09 4:02 PM
I hope that Google take this thread as the basis for a future development of the picture recognition functionality.  I have two point/items I would like to add to the requirements list:

a)  Is it possible to share the people manage (picture tagging) information with the on-line Picasa web folders?  I have scanned a number of old photos, and I am looking to share the images and tagging information to ensure several family members agree on individuals on the photos.

b)  Relying on auto scanning of photos to detect all the pictures is not reliable as I have found a number of people are not detected; thus it is important that all manually added faces are also transferable.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter gcoupe 11/4/09 3:41 AM
This is a good discussion.

I'm in the camp that believes "the truth is in the file", i.e. metadata belongs with the file. While I appreciate Neternity's concerns; for me, the value of metadata outweighs the risk that something will go wrong during the metadata creation/edit process. Risks can be managed to an acceptable level (and I agree that different people/organisations will have different definitions of "acceptable").

The "truth is in the file" - means that the IPTC/XMP and EXIF metadata is central for management of my photo library. Having metadata held outside the image files (as Picasa is doing in its own database) may be necessary for performance reasons, but the content must always reflect the metadata in the files themselves.
A rather good analogy that I came across is this... Imagine that you have an album of family photos. It's full of photos of members of your family stretching back several generations. Underneath each photo is a handwritten description of who is in the photo - that is the metadata for the photo. It's a marvellous resource for you and your family - a record of your family history. But over time, the glue degrades, and the photos become loose. Worse, many of them become unstuck. What do you have then? A pile of loose photos, and an album with blanks where the photos should be - and no way of knowing which photo should go where. The metadata has become separated from the photos.
What's the solution? Well, what should have been done in the first place is to write on the back of every photo who is in the photo before sticking the photos in the album. In other words, the metadata should be directly associated with the photos themselves. Then it doesn't matter if the photos fall out, the album can always be reconstructed. Indeed, a new album can be made when the old one falls apart.

And in this analogy, "new albums" means "new software applications and operating systems" The one thing we can guarantee in computing is that hardware and software will change rapidly, but industry-standard metadata specifications such as IPTC will move more slowly, and the standard can be re-implemented in the newer generations of software.

It seems to me that the developers of Picasa should visit the Metadata Working Group's web site and take a look at the technical specifications that encapsulate best practice in handling metadata in digital image files. This best practice should be the way forward for a version of Picasa that handles metadata in a proper manner. And for the sake of folks such as Neternity, that version of Picasa should probably have a switch to turn off metadata handling for those who wish this.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 11/4/09 5:26 AM
The problem of how to protect your image library is a bigger one than picasa/google can solve on their own. But I still say it is their problem.

A house roofer can blame the weather if the rain comes and the roof leaks while he has the roof apart to put a new roof down. But the house still gets water damage and the is to blame. He could have taken steps to protect the house and checked the weather before starting the job.

I use this analogy for metadata updates.

There needs to be a technique for picasa to update the metadata and protect the image library. I don't want my kids to be able to use the delete key and delete images or folders of images. One mistake and your repository of precious and important images is damaged. One virus and all may be lost.

These are reasons to put important data in read only mode.

Now that said, I do keep my current, work in progress area read-write. Once a bit of time has gone by and enough files are assembled, i start a new wip area and read only the old wip. So, once the images are loaded and the metadata is updated , the switch to read only should be a workable situation. I usually only have a few months of images in the read-write, work in progress area. I have over 500gb in the main area.

The only time picasa should need to have read-write access to the entire image library would be while it is doing the initial tagging and i manually match faces to images. Once done, i could lock down the majority of the library.

Now back to my raw question. I switch to raw a while ago, picasa deals with the nikon raw just fine but where does the metadata go for these files ?

I know, nikon raw is proprietary but could anyone imagine a world of photography without Nikon or Canon ?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter David Collantes 11/10/09 3:44 AM
I use Picasa (like the rest of us here) and I *do not* have JPG, or GIF images. All my images (close to 1.5TB now) are either RAW, DNG, or TIFF. Writing any other information, other than the existing to my images is, really, *not* wanted.

Since I use Picasa, I have no problems having Picasa save files that will contain faces information, tags, etc, on the same folder where the images are, or on a "Picasa Data" folder that can be easily backup for re-use in the event of crashes of the machine(s) with Picasa installed.

Question to the Picasa Team: what is being done to accomplish this? Thanks!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter cashen 11/10/09 1:27 PM
I was so pumped last night with this amazing feature, until i realized it sucks and is not made for network drives. Major problem and a deal breaker for me.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 11/10/09 3:06 PM
Picasa does work with network drives okay just not that well.

I have found that the way it works can be exploited to a degree. I let each client pc make it's own mind up about face matches. I don't worry about the match database being correct because there is no single repository.

This approach minimizes the overall recognition rate. I just use and add them all approach. It's better than no face recognition.

Maybe Picasa 4 will work to my needs and I will either let the 'main' pc update the database or just start all over from scratch.

Big realization was that face recognition is not prime time yet. Beta it is. Now we wait for Release 1.0.

It is a good sign of what will come.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter teinai 11/18/09 11:52 AM
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter dgd 11/27/09 6:49 AM
Scanning through these posts gives me pause on a number of issues.
First: Picasa is free and Google is offering it as free with no guarantees of anything if memory serves... so Google makes no money in supporting Picasa therefore it's nearly useless 'demanding changes' which is certainly the tone on some posts.

Second: Everyone has different needs and their are many here making a case for their own need.

Third: I wonder why Picasa has not been open sourced so that there could be more eyeballs on solutions to the numerous issues people have with Picasa. (Probably won't happen as the detection tech. was VERY costly to develop I imagine)

Fourth: I am one of the many on this list with Gigs of photos that have grown VERY weary of retagging images and I have severely curtailed my use of Picasa until I can find an EASY way to save my edits/tagging/ and photo manips.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter GLEEE 12/9/09 11:15 PM
All -

I've read this and many other threads and have come up with a solution that works for me. In the hopes that it can be of help to others, here is my approach:

I) Problem statement - We have several computers in the house, each with picasa, and all our images stored on a shared network drive (NAS, and mapped with a common drive letter).  We have 20,000+ images from over a decade. The question is, how do we let each person's computer access the images without corruption?

II) Approach - Foremost, this thread has made it clear that a family wide POLICY statement is the easiest way to address the problem:

I enabled one machine to be the MASTER machine that handles all those tasks that are stored in the per-machine database files. If you want to do any of these tasks, then you must go to the MASTER machine to do them:

- Create albums for uploading that you want to keep around
- Create new names/people/contacts

Then on all other machines (which I'll call SLAVE machines) and also at the master machine, you are allowed to do everything else (essentially anything that makes changes to the picasa.ini file or the image itself).

- Create albums that are "temporary"
- Modify images
- Assign existing names/people/contacts to images
- Star images
- Tag images

If one person is using Picasa, nobody else should be unless viewing. Sure semaphore problem - but in reality, its never been an issue.

I'm also assuming that all of the machines use the same google account that you log into. If you don't this procedure will need some tweaking, as the contacts.xml file may contain links to that google account.

III) Syncing - This works well, but as changes occur on the master machine, they are not propogated to the other machines. To handle this, I go through the following sync process. UNFORTUNATELY, this removes any albums that have been created on the non-master machines, but I can't reliably get around this problem (*).

* Before doing anything, I make sure that there are no new people that need to be identified on the MASTER machine. It should be up to date before syncing.

* First, I make backups of  each slave+master machine's database to the shared drive (this is just out of paranoia):
(Vista) C:/Users/%USERNAME%/AppData/Local/Google/Picasa2/db3/
(XP) C:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\db3

* Second, I backup'ed each slave+master machine's contact list to the shared drive:
(Vista) C:/Users/%USERNAME%/AppData/Local/Google/Picasa2/contacts/
(XP) C:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\contacts

* Third, on each slave machine, I load picasa and removed all of the directories from the watch list then exited Picasa to clear any caches.

* Next, I copied the contacts.xml file from the MASTER machine onto the SLAVE machine in the appropriate directory shown in the second step above.

* Next, I load Picasa back up on the SLAVE machine. You will not yet see the people listed - don't worry. Re add your root network directory on the folder watch list and have Picasa search for all the images once again. Yup - takes takes years to complete. As it rebuilds its database, it should now starting recognizing observed faces and connecting them to the contact list. It in essences maps the picasa.ini contacts info to the contacts.xml file that you have copied over. It alas, will not rebuild your albums, hence they are considered temporary (*).

* Finally, after Picasa rebuilds its database and has finished scanning all of the images for faces again, I go into the "unnamed people" album, Expand Groups, select them all, and then say ignore. Voila.

(*) If I was bold, I would copy the db3 files to the slave machines too, to at least allow them to see the "permanent" albums. I might begin resorting to this. In the mean time, I tell everybody on SLAVE machines to make sure any album that they want to keep is either a) built on tags that you use (i.e. can be easily regenerated, as the tags are stored with the files), and/or b) uploaded to the web where they can be downloaded again.

That's about it. This handles most of my needs. I envision resyncing only after a few months. If the master gets out of date from changes made on slaves, I may have to manually reload individual directories - we'll see.

Of course, it really just needs to be fixed by Google: albums and contacts should be allowed to be saved in a common area, preferably with some syncing ability between them.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter A. Katherine 12/23/09 6:55 AM
I can't find the application data on this PC.  I found it on my laptop, where I first did the name tagging and copied the DB3 folder over to a flash drive.  But now i can't find it anywhere on my PC.  I've done search on all the drives and its just not finding it.  Also, if the pics are on an external HD, and that HD gets disconnected temporarily, sometimes it changes its drive letter.  Does that mean that we have to start from scratch again?  Just like when its dicaonnected and Picasa does not see the pics any more and has to reimport them?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Rimba 12/27/09 10:04 PM
Best way is, like Picasa offers to backup the entire image library, it should offer a way to backup/export the name tag information into some portable format.
Or offer atleast some APIs where people can build their own pluggins. This would allow all sorts of custom handling possible.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter NickDesb 12/29/09 11:29 AM
I'm simply trying to move photos and face tag info from my old XP PC to a new Win7 PC. I followed the "official" instructions to the letter: After following these steps (i.e., creating a backup using Picasa on the old PC and restoring it on the new PC, then installing Picasa on the new PC), Picasa showed the list of people in my pics on the new machine, but it apparently lost all of the work I'd done to tag those people in pics manually, because it automatically started scanning all my pics and only auto-tagged faces it could recognize automatically (and often incorrectly). Basically, all my manual tagging work on my old PC wasn't carried over to the new machine through Picasa's built-in backup/restore process. I still have the manually-tagged face data on my old XP machine, so I haven't lost anything yet, and would appreciate any help anyone could offer so I can complete my PC upgrade.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter christopher_rath 12/31/09 12:04 PM
I fully endorse the perspective described by @Neternity on Oct. 9.  I too do not allow Picasa to edit my original photos.  I accomplish this by making each picture file read-only.  I do allow Picasa to crop photos; since in doing so it moves the original file to a folder underneath the folder where the photo is located.

To add to what has been written in this thread about the location of meta-data and keeping my original files untouched...

Google could enhance Picasa to support 98% of home users' requirements for a shared picture library, keep my original files untouched (for the reasons described by @Netternity), and only write a very small amount of code: simply have Picasa put a copy of all meta data the user creates (albums, stars, faces, etc.) into the .picasa files that are sometimes created.  Then, have Picasa rescan the library looking for changed .picasa files, each time Picasa starts up.

This would place the meta data in plain text files; which could be parsed by other software in the future---when Google stops supporting Picasa!

At the moment, Picasa only creates a .picasa file under very limited circumstances.  It should not be difficult to add a quick call to a "save data in .picasa file" to each place where Picasa writes to its local DB.  Since these writes are to small text files, they shouldn't incur too large a performance penalty, even to a network drive.  The rescan would take a bit of time; but, if that scan is simply integrated into Picasa's current background folder scan, it wouldn't stop users from their work while the background scan takes place.

This isn't a solution to allow large numbers of users to share a library of files; but, it would suffice for families---which, from reading support threads on this site---I believe is 98% of the need that exists.

The only additional feature Google would need to implement is some basic file locking to ensure that two users don't write to the file at the same time.  This too is a trival feature to code.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter joeybagofdonuts 1/3/10 7:20 AM
I have developed a small application that helps me "network" my picasa files to all the different PCs in my house.
Here is my setup.
MediaPC (contains all pictures)
Several PCs scattered throughout the house (have Picasa and a mapped drive to my MediaPCs pictures)

I changed the Picasa shortcut to point to my application.  It in turn runs Picasa if all is OK.

Here is how it works
The launcher first makes sure that the MediaPC is turned on... If it isn't, it dispalys a Retry message box which tells you to turn on the MediaPC as running Picasa without the referenced pictures will lose the face recognition.
It then presents an option to restore your files (from the MediaPC) or to Launch Picasa

If you choose to restore, then the files are copied from the MediaPC to your local machine,
If you choose to Launch, it checks a file on the media pc.  If it is newer than the copy on your machine, it will tell you that you can restore the files to your local machine.
When you quit Picasa, the launcher reappears and allows you to backup your files to the MediaPC

If enough people are interested in the application, I will find a way to post it online with instructions on how to set it up.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter greenup 1/3/10 3:57 PM
I got so frustrated with picasa's face issues, I was working toward getting rid of it.

(finishing the current identification, using AvPicFaceXmpTagger to move the tags into the pictures, and using a more useful image management tool, perhaps with its own face tagger. (and DEFINITELY with "stacks"))

Unfortunately, (?)  the face tagging has already proven SO useful, and the currently available alternate solutions I have found SO poor, that I'll probably have to keep picasa around for a while yet.  Running AvPicFaceXmpTagger often is not a good answer, so your solution looks like another workaround that might be helpful.  

A small thing that might be helpful with yours, though, might be a "lock file"?  A special file made by your utility (probably containing the hostname of the last access) that could make it so only one copy of picasa was open at a time?  I could easily seeing myself making some improvements on one machine, and leaving picasa open, and then later opening it on another machine.  Whichever machine exited last would clobber the other's changes, unless you had a lock file that your utility could check to make sure it was the only one with the database "checked out" at a time.  It may be your utility already does such, but the description did not make me think so.

Thanks for your thought & work
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter greenup 1/3/10 4:01 PM
Hmm.  my last message was meant to be a reply to joeybagofdonuts, but I think I cut something during edit.
Again, I'd be interested in your app; thanks.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter maestro092009 1/5/10 6:44 PM
Explain your issue in full detail here:
Hi guys... I was wondering how google thumbnail images work? For example: there is one succesful musician who has several images gathered from different sources all displayed those images in google image search..however, when I type his name in google thumbnail images are not shown.... please I really need a help to understand how it works! I would appreciate any advice.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter silvster 1/5/10 10:43 PM

When you create a junction link in vista, it will trick the application into thinking it is actually accessing a file in a specified file.  In other words if
you store all your files in a public user folder shared by all users on the computer, when picassa launches it will look in your profile view to find
your people and picture tags but because you have the link set up it will really be accessing the shared location.  First you need to copy the setting files
that you want to be shared into a shared directory somewhere.  For me I did the following:

I copied these two files...
C:\Documents and Settings\Michelle\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2
C:\Documents and Settings\Michelle\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2albums

and I pasted them here: (I created the google folder to be consistent)
C:\Documents and Settings\Public\Google\

Once you have done this you can delete the old files above (the one's located on the user's private profile).  You also need to delete those same corresponding
files that exist on the other profile.  Since they have the generic settings that is ok to delete their files without copying.

Now you need to set up the links.  Open a command prompt window (start button hit run then type in CMD)
Paste the following directions in (one line at a time).  Be sure to change the user name.

mklink /J "C:\Documents and Settings\Jeff\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2" "C:\Documents and Settings\Public\Google\Picasa2"
mklink /J "C:\Documents and Settings\Jeff\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2albums" "C:\Documents and Settings\Public\Google\Picasa2albums"

You will have to log into the other users account to run this.

mklink /J "C:\Documents and Settings\Michelle\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2" "C:\Documents and Settings\Public\Google\Picasa2"
mklink /J "C:\Documents and Settings\Michelle\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2albums" "C:\Documents and Settings\Public\Google\Picasa2albums"
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter herlock 1/5/10 11:17 PM
This thread is very interesting. It addresses a serious pitfall in a freely available software published by one of the biggest internet companies at this time. IMHO, Picasa is a nice piece of software for personnal use, period. It's "bleeding edge" technology with a high risk factor at a very low price and still needs to be polished. Managing tens of thousands of pictures with very high consideration for data integrity is best left to professional software. These offer solutions for some of the problems raised in this thread like file versioning/revisionning, sidecar files for carrying metadata/modifications and publishing tools for distributing the digital pictures.

It will be interesting to see how Picasa evolves in the next few years but I am not going to use it's face recognition technollogy untill I am sure that the work I put into it is portable and that it satisfies my requirements for protecting the integrity of my data.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter jnp32 1/6/10 9:06 AM
what happens if both users have picasa open at the same time?  Have you tried it?

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter mstruzak 1/18/10 1:35 PM
A much simpler situation, not involving any ongoing synchronization: I simply want to copy the photos and settings (albums and faces) to a new computer.  Once copied, the files and settings will be used on the new computer, and no longer needed on the old one.  

I used the Backup Pictures in Picasa 3.6; I then restored the created package on the new computer (using the program that was part of the package), and even chose to preserve the same file locations (read somewhere this was compulsory for the albums to work correctly.  I then installed and fired up PIcasa on the new computer, but seeing it completely empty, rescanned the freshly populated (restored) areas. And for most of it the pictures and settings ended up as advertised.  Except:

1.  None of my actual face names were preserved.  All the face albums were created correctly, but instead of the name of the person (as specified on the old computer) I get <Unknown Person> for each face album.  But from what I can tell, the contents of the face albums are correct (except a few incorrect face positions, see pt 3 below).  

2.  The face album thumbnails are incorrect; they simply picked up the first photo in the album.  

3.  Every now and then (maybe one out of 20) I get a completely bogus location of the face.  The face is definitely in the right picture, but its corresponding location and shape are off.  All of these "corrupted" face areas are the same shape.  

Did I do something wrong with the import?  Should I have installed Picasa before the restore?  How do I fix it now (other than entering the names by hand, and fixing the "broken" faces manually)?  

Any help highly appreciated.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter earlboss 1/19/10 5:00 PM
1.  I have found that the face name data that the .INI file references to pick up the names is in the Contacts.XML file. You need to copy this file to your new computer in addition to doing the backup.  (NOTE: I normally just copy the whole picture directory to the new computer rather than use Picasa Backup.)  After you copy the picture folders with the Picasa INI files to the new computer, find the Contacts.XML file and copy it to the proper location on the new computer, then start Picasa and add the copied folders to the watched files in the folder manager. This will probably only work correctly if you don't yet have any contacts named in the new computer that are different from the old computer, because the new names will be lost when you overwrite the contacts file.
The contacts data is in the following folder:
Windows XP:   C:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\contacts\
Windows 7:   C\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Local/Google\Picasa2\contacts\
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter earlboss 1/19/10 5:50 PM
2.  The face thumbnail will be the first face scanned with that name. After the scan for new faces is complete you can go to the people folder and select the face for the thumbnail by right clicking on the selected photo and selecting "set as thumbnail".

3.  I have seen this too! Don't know what causes it.

One problem is that after the face scan is complete there will be a lot of unnamed faces because Picasa does not remember which faces were ignored.  If all the faces you wanted to name are already named, you can go to the Unnamed peoples folder, and select all the faces you don't want to tag and ignore them.

One glitch is that if you Ignore all the Unnamed faces, the Unnamed people folder will go away and then you can't get to the Ignored folder, so leave at least one face in the Unnamed folder, or select any face from one of the people folders and remove it from the people album. This will cause it to go to the unnamed folder making Unnamed folder visible again.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Craig- 1/27/10 10:08 PM
I must say, after months of face tagging 10s of thousands of faces, the solutions suggested above are wholly inadequate and frustratingly useless.  I tried all three solutions suggested by JAYSIEJ above only to find my restored PC riddled with floating boxes of misfited faces resting completely random places in the pictures, 40 thousand faces no longer identified ... and really disappointed that all my work and efforts to properly back up in vain.  In my case my computer manufacturer's tech support recommended restoring the original image on my pc.  I now know that was an idiotic idea because of the nightmare that has ensued by losing all of my hard work in organizing and naming the individuals in all my files.  Someone PLEASE write down a detailed restore procedure.  For instance, Do you download Picassa before restoring the pictures?  Do you turn off face recognition pending restore?  Do you turn off suggestions?  Is it better to use Picassa's backup and restore or a clean backup? I tried both - equally useless.  At what point do you connect with the web albums?  The only thing I'm certain is that this is a very delicate procedure that should be carefully explained.  We need to be able to call someone and get answers.  We can pay for storage, why can't we pay for answers to such important questions?  Amazing.  I'm quite ready to give up, the thought of redoing months and months of effort is too daunting a task.  There MUST be a way to fool proof restore the files and not have to redo off the work (such as telling Picassa which faces to ignore, cure the bad boxes, to avoid having to rename work completed.  Such a great idea, such catastrophe if having to restore.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Squirrel1971 2/12/10 12:59 PM
How about saving the names to tags in the photos?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter loulou91 2/14/10 11:22 AM

Very intersting thread that I follow since several weeks and I would like now to share my feedback with you.

My objective was to maintain the same set of albums (about 20 Gbytes) on 2 computers (because I live in 2 locations, Paris and Geneva).

I have chosen to have an intermediate backup disk to keep my 2 computers at the same level.
First I am in Paris. I make some changes in my picture repositery. At the end, I save my changes using a synchronisation tool SyncBack (
 I have choosen to synchronize my picture folder, and 2 Picasa folders: Picasa2, Picasa2Albums.
Then I go to Geneva and I start restoring my changes from my backup disk. My Picasa is immediatly operational including the faces !!!

Of course this method is applicable only if the external backup disk uses the same windows disk letter and if the albums are located at the same place. Other important point: All my contacts are managed online and then can be shared by my 2 computers.


As a conclusion, I use an optimal method to maintain my 2 computers (while having a complete backup) as far as the sychro tool is very efficient.
I'm happy :-)

Hope this helps!

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter the_roggy 2/23/10 11:22 AM
Another alternative I found to use picasa in a multi-pc environment... that has a little bit easier procedure then most... and work also on XP (symbolic links were only introduced in Vista, and there doesn't exist an alternative in XP)...

I didn't test it extensively, because I don't need it myself, but I think it should work on XP, Vista and Windows 7...

1) Create an emty .bat file, doesn't matter where.
2) Paste the code you find beneath in the .bat file
3) Change the variables PICASAPROFILEPATH and PICASAEXECPATH in the .bat file to your situation/wishes
4) Run the bat file!
5) If you want to recuperate your existing profile, move the files picasa database files to the same directories where you find them in the PICASAPROFILEPATH
The files are found here:
    - Windows XP:   %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\
    - Vista en 7:   %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\

@echo OFF

set PICASAEXECPATH=C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Picasa3\

:: Try to create the directory needed for Windows Vista and 7, otherwise he uses the default USERPROFILE anyway...
mkdir %TEMPPATH%

:: Try to create the directory needed for Windows XP, otherwise he uses the default USERPROFILE anyway...
set TEMPPATH="%PICASAPROFILEPATH%\Local Settings\Application Data"
mkdir %TEMPPATH%

:: Set dir where picasa should read/write its settings

:: Start Picasa...
start picasa3.exe

:: If the path doesn't exist/couldn't be created... error
echo ERROR: the following path isn't available and/or couldn't be created: %TEMPPATH%
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 2/24/10 6:28 AM
I've just realesed the new version 1.5 of AvPicFaceXmpTagger which is a tool to create XMP, EXIF and IPTC tags based on the Picasa found faces.

The new version also supports the definition of own, manual defined faces and saves them in XMP too. Furthermore the tool is able to automatically generate IPTC or XMP keywords from the face names. There are some more interesting features, so just have a look here:

There are two issues worth noting:

1) AvPicFaceXmpTagger is now able to store all relevant Picasa settings from the ini file as a user defined XMP structure. With this structure, it would be possible to reconstruct the picasa ini files and the contacts file.

2) I have learned that WLPG is not able to handle more than one face with the same face name in a picture. All further faces with the same name are just ignored. Picasa is able to handle this.
Is this just a limitation of WLPG or is it a limitation of XMP-MP!? Anyone has deeper knowledge?

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter the_roggy 3/3/10 3:11 PM
Created an update on my script to be able to choose where picasa puts/uses it's database. Now there is a check to block the risk that several people start working concurrently on the same database.
Put it in a seperate post for clarity...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter dahuang1 3/3/10 11:37 PM
I tried restoring my backup and then overwriting the db folder - and when it first starts, it looks like it's ok, but then picasa runs through with that little mini window searching for files and then it removes all the faces from the face menu on the left side.  I tried to disable face watching and then recopying - that didn't work either.  I would like to be able to turn off face detection without removing face data, which seems to be compulsory.  Now it is re scanning all pictures again and many previously tagged pictures / faces named are ending up in the unnamed folder again (but not all....)
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter cy80rg 3/7/10 11:33 AM
Hmm - whole can-o-worms!

Seems like theres a lot of very intelligent comments, responces and suggestions in here - congrats to all the DieHards in here who've done some coding!

Q1: Now users have given some suggestions of their issues and solutions -
CAN WE GET SOME FEEDBACK from Google? What's the next step for Picasa? When's the next release?
Rather than "going on a PICNIC" shouldnt this be looked at first?

Q2. I LOVE google stuff - I use everything they make, and would love to feel secure using Picasa. However, it looks like it's currently hugely insecure for what people are wanting to do with it - think Family Archive rather than spotty facebook brats...

WIth this M$ Gallery thing apparently storing tags in the files (personally, I agree this is the place to store them - with options) - is it time to ditch Picasa for the MS Gallery, till Google sort Picasa out?

I'm wanting to go full-bore with the tagging, and need a stable infrastructure....

C'mon Google, getting this wrong or doing nothing will *really* damage peoples faith in Gle, proportional to the amount of time wasted by users losing work and time....
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter cy80rg 3/7/10 11:37 AM
</rant> Ok, I do apreciate Picasa wasnt built as a "National Archive Office" tool - but Im sure we're all agreed cataloguing ones family photo's, putting hours or work in to organise memories etc, is a subject very close to people hearts.

Of course, all the Kudos / PPC Ad $$ is in "spotty facebook market" - nothing wrong with that but why not:

1. Release a full, PRO level tool - fund it by PPC, even charge for it (idea: Bundle with upgraded storage and charge $$)
2. Open the API so someone else can build the pro version
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter cy80rg 3/7/10 11:42 AM
To clarify my actual question,

I'd like an app or service that pushes all tags, locations, faces etc into the file itself - does this MS Gallery thing do that?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter cy80rg 3/7/10 12:04 PM
One last - lets say I did go over to Windows Live Photo Gallery, do all my tagging etc which are then stored in the image metadata.
If I did move to WLPG, I'd be looking to come back to Picasa when it's more stable - can Picasa pull data back out of the metatags?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Daz Step 3/7/10 1:32 PM
My action plan:
1. Use Picasa to do the face searches, fix up the mistakes.
2. Use Andreas Vogels utility to export picasa data to People tags which includes x and y coordinates of faces, also export to description tags.
3. Use WLPG to open all files, use it from then on to bulk move description tags to proper hierachy I use. Eg. People/Family/Immediate/Child A or People/Friends/Person B

if everything goes belly up all information is in the file. WLPG just rebuilds the library, no database restores, just back up your actual photos.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter AlexS10 3/28/10 10:55 PM

Very interesting thread.  So I have 2 question.

for version 3.6 what is the definitive way to backup the name / geo tag stuff. I currenty have my photo's on a nas shares for windows and linux.

The other question, can I setup the DB on a share and allow 2 people to do stuff at the same time or is that a recipe for disaster.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter the_roggy 3/29/10 11:15 AM
@AlexS10: For setting a database on a shared drive par example, I created a little application that lets you choose where to put your database... can be found here:
For working simultaniously on one database... I'm quite sure this would give problems... That's why I build in a check in the application so this is blocked...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter AlexS10 4/4/10 4:58 AM

The roggy, thought I would give it a go and well I don't think it is fully working. I created a new network share and used your started to start picasa - and it had all the original contacts .......  I would have thought it would have had a blank contact list - I hadn't contacted the web album yet either .....
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter the_roggy 4/4/10 5:30 AM
Hey AlexS10... Some questions to you to narrow down the possible problems:
- I suppose you didn't copy your present picasa database to the network share?
- Did you see your photo's as well, or only the contacts?
- What operating system are you using (Windows XP, Vista or 7), and what language is it (english or german or spanish or ?)
- In the network path you defined, Picasastarter should have created the following directories:
       <PicasaDBBaseDir>\Local Settings\Application data
   Inside this directory, Picasa should have created
   Which directories are present there and which are not?
- In the folder Picasa 2 is a file network.log, I you start Picasa it is always changed, so if you look at the modify date, you can see if Picasa was looking there for its database files or not...
- Did you try to put the picasa database on your C:\temp or something using Picasastarter, if this works, we only have to look at network-related problems...
Maybe it is the easiest if you post your answers in a new thread in the Picasastarter forum... I don't think this (gigantic) thread is the best place to discuss a particilar problem...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter the_roggy 4/4/10 5:32 AM
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter AlexS10 4/4/10 6:50 AM

W7, no I didn't copy over anything, also I found geotaggin didn't work either :(

on the NAS directorty it created the 2 folders

I agree about the place for the thread, but I am going to go back to basics and just backup the files from the local C: drive. THanks
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Andreas Vogel 4/9/10 1:20 AM
Hi there,

I've just released the new version 1.7 of AvPicFaceXmptagger here:
The forum for this program is here:

The program is written in .NET 2.0 and runs on Windows (all versions) and on Linux (with MONO). The program runs on its own and doesn't need any installation.

Just some notes what this program is doing:
AvPicFaceXmpTagger reads for each picture file the Picasa face definition (face name and rectangle) and stores them as XMP-MP tags (these tags are used by WLPG). Furthermore the program is able to create IPTC keyword, XMP Lightroom and several other tags based on the face names. For tagging the program uses the well known exiftool program which is known to preserve MakerNote tags.

In one sentence: AvPicFaceXmpTagger is doing what Picasa should be able to do right from the start: optionally tag the pictures based on the face data.

New features:
- XMP sidecar file support
- Lightroom HierarchicalSubject tag support
- Reads and uses now hierarchical keywords for keyword paths and keyword clouds (compatible with Lightroom and similar programs)
- Per file extension tagging options
- Creates tags just containing face names, face name paths and face name keyword clouds inside a private XMP structure

Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DoctorGre 4/28/10 12:05 AM
In such a huge thread, this is going to get lost, but:

I am seriously angry at the implementation of this feature. The first time I needed to migrate information (from a clean install) I followed the Google-provided instructions, though even then it seemed like there should be a better way, and all worked.

This time I didn't clean-install, but I ended up creating a new user account on the same machine. For various reasons, I had to delete the old user account after creating the new one. Now, there are still .picasa files in the folders but at the time I didn't have the presence of mind to backup the folders in the /User/foo/AppData/Local/Google directory. So they're gone. Albums I don't care about. But the faces were there, too.

This is seriously frustrating. If you're already creating .picasa files in the folders themselves, why can't the face data be there, and therefore accessible to any user account that has permission to run Picasa?

Sure would like the 7 hours of my life back that I've wasted thus far, not counting repeating the tagging process. Which will hopefully be shorter now that I've picked up some tricks along the way. But still, this is an awful, awful implementation. I don't even care if there's no metadata saved directly in the pics. I just don't think this has been done right at all. Grr. Angry.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter DoctorGre 4/28/10 12:11 AM
Agh. Looking at the .picasa files, they at least contain the dimensions for where faces have been recognized. Yet scanning seems to be occurring from scratch.

Could the developers have put any LESS thought into the workflow of managing recognized faces? Possibly. If they made you open the pictures in a drawing program and use a pencil tool to write "This iz Bobby'z face" with a doodled arrow. Though, come to think of it, you wouldn't lose your work that way.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter luison 5/23/10 1:33 AM
I tried all kind of options read on this thread for transfering from an XP old computer to a new Windos 7 equipment trying to preserve my database of pictures and albums (16Gb).

The export and import option seemed to work (after hour and hours of work) but alltough contacts remained the pictures associated with them had to be reconstructed an relearned. Also, some pictures had very strange crops that required to "clear all transformations" to fix.

This finally worked for me and should have done it from the beginning:

- Upgrade both PC 3.6 at the times.
- Quit both.
- Copied my main folders to SAME location on new PC... D:/photos to D:/photos
- Copied from old PC Documents and Settings (depending on version this is /Users/Doc+Settings/.... or  other, read this thread) the Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums folders after doing a backup of the ones there (in case of errors).
- Edited in Picassa2Albums the watchedfolders.txt and left just the D:/photoso (or whatever is yours) path.
- Run Picassa on the new PC
- As I wanted to change the location of photos on the new PC I did it from Picassa itself. On the folder, right click, move location... so PIcassa maintains the face db, etc.

So far, so good. Everything seemed on place, persons database is correct and no strange issues.

I agree with everyone else that Picassa is a great app that needs to address:

- easier and more effiicient backup-restores method, specially for albums and face detetection lib
- sharing library on more than one computer, this is a must nowadays alltough is likely it will turn a paid option.
- re-syncs betwen local and web albums.. which sometimes gets screwed up.

Hope it helps someone.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter John Davis 6/30/10 8:03 PM
The face detection info is in the .ini file as say FaceID, then the faceID key field with Face name data field is in the Picasa DB3 file. Would it be possible to export the face data only from the DB3 file, then import it into the DB3 file on another computer?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter the_roggy 7/7/10 8:23 AM
The contact information for the face tagging isn't in the db3 files, it is in an xml file on this path 

Windows XP: %USERNAME%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Picasa2\contacts
Vista/7: %USERNAME%\Appdata\Local\Google\Picasa2\contacts
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter brianrose 7/9/10 4:12 PM
It's great to see so many passionate Picasa users, and thank you everyone for sharing your workarounds and hacks. We realize we need to make it easier to migrate your Picasa name tags, and we're currently working on several changes to address this.


Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Neternity 7/9/10 7:04 PM
Good to hear.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter ediz2 7/10/10 5:59 PM
Please hurry!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter marcioaguiar 7/13/10 6:49 AM
Great time to check back this thread. Good news!
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter VincentZ 9/6/10 4:59 PM
Just wanted to say I followed luison's instructions (post ~153) to export my Picasa album from Vista 32 to Win7 x64 and it worked perfectly. No scanning of the folders was done, all my "face" tags were there. The only thing that took some time was to rescan the "unnamed people" (about 4 minutes for a 4Gb album).
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Arfang 9/6/10 5:45 PM
Hi, I did from XP to Seven, a Microsoft Migration Wizard, Howto there There are other help for vista from here : And - I checked the google/picassa datas where included (somewhere in advanced) - the users' images will be transfered in the same path if you don't change the drive or user name - if you have "special path" for other images you may also include them in the transfer - after installing Seven I use the tool to import my users and datas - I installed Picasa 3.6 and ... he found my XP configuration and ALL the faces information (~60 Go photos) ! Yeah ! =) Regards, and thanks for this GREAT application !
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Milan_cz 9/20/10 3:34 PM
Hi. Christina said that Google is working on something to address the problem of moving libraries between computers or operation systems. I spent hours and hours of face tagging all my photos. And I'd really appreciate if there was a way how to transfer my face tags from PC to Mac. Google please reply me whether it will be possible any soon. Thanks. Milan.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Dent_ 9/22/10 10:50 AM
Does anybody know if this is still the way to backup my picasa people profiles? I just noticed that this was answered for about a year ago.  25th Sept. 2009...
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Milan_cz 9/22/10 10:57 AM
If you backup all your picture folders and Picasa settings folder (C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa3) and then you move it to your new computer to the same location as they was that should work. But I dont know how to move my library to a Mac, there is a problem in different paths.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter Rimba 9/22/10 1:43 PM
Its high time, Google posts an OFFICIAL way to backup everything for usage in case of emergency...
The thread has been going on for enough time and its better for Google to post a clear reply and end it. Or probably better if they include this feature in the software itself; acceptable to have whatever settings they like.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter HPC_G 10/6/10 3:06 PM
When you (Google / Christina / Brian) find the way to make migrations easier, please make a big general announcement about the upgrade.

In my case I moved across operating systems from XP to Vista some time ago and would like to move my name tags.

Thanks for the encouraging words.
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter justiceprevails 11/8/10 6:18 PM
Yes please, I moved from Vista to Win 7 (clean install - nor migration) several months ago.  The I got the pictures, albums, and facial information moved.  However Picasa proceeded to scan the picture folders again and made a duplicate of each.  Very frustrating.  I'm waiting for a procedure to be posted by Picasa.  Has this got any easier with ver 6.8?
Re: How to Back up Name Tags and copy to an another compter justiceprevails 11/8/10 6:23 PM
Sorry, I meant version 3.8
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