Snow Peak GigaPower Auto on Sale for $25

snow peak gigapower auto stove

The Snow Peak GigaPower Auto isobutane canister stove is on a fantastic sale price right now at REI – $25. It really is $50 normally, and I see that’s what it is on Amazon right now.

I’m not sure why it’s on sale, but maybe it’s due to their LiteMax stove ($60). Or perhaps they will make a new version or something. Alternatively, Amazon sells cheap stoves (such as Etekcity for $10) that fit the same fuel canisters and do the job, but aren’t as refined and are slightly heavier. I have one as a backup.

I’ve had the Snow Peak GigaPower Auto since our 2005 trip in Sequoia National Park and still love it. It’s very cool it won the Backpacker Magazine’s 2015 Editor’s Choice Gold Award. The design is still a great way to go if you want one. They do make a $10 windscreen for it also that I got a few years back and it helps with boiling quicker.

Backpacker Magazine said:

“Flashback to 1999: A Japanese company hit the U.S. scene with a number of elegant products, and the tiny, powerful GigaPower Stove became a staff favorite and Editors’ Choice Award winner. Today, that stove is still tiny, still powerful, still a staff favorite”


Wishlist for Google Maps & Local Guides

…from a Geolocated Photography EnthusiastGoogle Maps thank you message

Now that Panoramio will be shut down, Google has encouraged Panoramio users to move to Google Maps. In their stated plans, Panoramio users’ photos will automatically be copied to a user’s Google Album Archive. They will continue to be shown in Google Maps if they had before. At the same time, Google is really mounting a serious effort with their Local Guides program, in which volunteers add to and improve on the place data for Google Maps.

While Google Maps is an amazing tool in so many ways, it is definitely lacking when compared to Panoramio’s strengths. I am willing to switch over to Google Maps, and upload my geotagged photos there to fill in empty spots much like I did with Panoramio. But, I need to see a few basic improvements before I have enough incentive to do that.

Below, I have my wishlist for improvements to Google Maps for a geolocated photography enthusiast. I limit this list to the things that I think really need adjusted before I’ll start uploading to Google Maps as I did in Panoramio. I’ll even go into some detail on how Google could achieve the adjustments. I am sure there is an extremely small chance someone at Google will see this list and take it to heart, but I felt I needed to say it. If they do make positive adjustments, then will help them gain more high quality contributions for the photo layers in Maps and Earth. They may have need of better photo coverage once Panoramio is fully shuttered.

Google Maps Wishlist

  1. True Location for Photos

  2. Improve User Photos View

  3. Allow for Comments on Photos

  4. Attribution


1. True Location for Photos

I would really, really prefer the photos in Google Maps’ photos layer point to their true location on the map, and not just to the “snapped-to” point of interest (POI). I have a few experiences related to this that I’ll relay, though I’m sure there are others. First, for my Panoramio photos that appear in Google Maps currently – I see that they show with a pin at the “snapped-to” POI rather than the correct location. This is when I view those in my contributions area. But, when I view the same photos while just browsing around in Google Maps as a random user, then they show at the correct location. I have also uploaded a few photospheres to Google Maps using Google’s Street View mobile app. With these I see a similar thing. In my contributions, it shows them pinned at the “snapped-to” POI that I chose, but when just viewing the map I see they have the correct location.

Google Maps Taum Sauk in Contributions View

Google Maps Taum Sauk in Photo Layer

Deal Breaker

Unfortunately when I have uploaded directly to Google Maps from within a desktop web browser, it shows the location for that photo as the POI and not the true location in both views. That is deal breaker for me.

Google Maps Lumpy Ridge in Contributions View

Google Maps Lumpy Ridge in Photo LayerI want to see the correct location of photos and I want others to see the correct location for my photos. I plan to upload quite a few photos with points of interest that cover vast areas such as national parks. I can try to be more specific if there is a POI that fits, but otherwise, I can see these photos being stuck showing at just one spot in a big national park. Not showing the true location really kills the usefulness of the photos for exploring the map or planning a trip for example. It just seems inaccurate to me.

The fact that Google shows some photos at the snapped POI in one view but at the true location in another view shows that Google saves both the linked POI and the correct lat/long coordinates. But what about for those that show the location at the POI in both views? Could Google drop the correct lat/long for photos uploaded to Maps? I really hope not. If not, then an interface change could remedy this and is something they should do.

Perhaps Google consciously made the decision to do it this way from the perspective of more urban photos, including those of businesses. Outdoor photos taken from different locations of a business, and even indoor photos, would then fit together all in one spot. If you were trying to learn more about the business, that would make sense. Perhaps they believe that’s where the money is? But it would still be inaccurate if you wanted to see a true view from certain spots.

The problem is, there are small, specific places such as a restaurant where it’s maybe ok for some purposes to have photos taken from different locations jumbled together. They have the same subject. But there are also places where that makes no sense at all. Think of a huge national park with many attractions, many features, and also lots of open space. Having photos of all those thrown in together in one spot does not make sense. The photos can be of completely different things. And there is a spectrum of places that fit somewhere in between. For another example, say POI is the Golden Gate Bridge. Then I would want to see from where each of the photos was taken for the different views of the bridge. If I wanted a jumbled assortment of photos, then I could just do an image search instead.

I really hope for Google to show the correct location in all situations. At minimum, they could just show it for non-urban photos. However, in that hybrid approach, I can see them having some difficulty figuring out when to choose the POI and when to choose the true location.

2. Improve User Photos View

There really must be a better view of your own photos, and photos of others. Compare the view of a user’s photos in Google Maps (above) to what it is in Panoramio (below).
Panoramio ScreenshotRight now in Maps, you only see a narrow vertical single-file sidebar on the left in a desktop web browser. The map and pinned locations for photos makes up most of the window to the right. That is very inefficient for viewing your own photos or those of another user to say the least.

In another inefficiency, infinite scroll is used. Often that works just fine, but here it’s very tedious and frustrating to find photos if you have many. You keep scrolling and scrolling, new images load slowly, and the more you scroll, the slower things become as it bogs down. Paged browsing would be much easier and faster since it would allow you to skip around. However, Flickr does a much better job at infinite scroll because the photos load so much faster, they show more than one wide, and they have a hybrid approach with paging after a certain number of items.

But back to the narrow view issue – we need a wider view to better show many photos. I definitely think Google can do this without too much trouble. There is a tab at the top right of the left sidebar that allows you to hide it and restore it. I envision this tab allowing the user to switch between 3 states instead of just the 2 it does now. You could use it to expand the sidebar right to take up most of the window so that photos can be viewed much more efficiently in a grid format – something like this image I created below. This could be a great help to desktop, laptop, and tablet users, anyone with a screen wider than a phone’s.


One other problem I’ve found with the current view is that initially the map shows a very limited number of pins for your photo locations. These correspond to only the small number of photos that are loaded on the left at first. When you scroll down, more photos are filled in after a few seconds and their pins are added on the map. This prevents you from having a nice map view of your photo locations, unless you want to do a whole lot of scrolling and waiting.

I saw one user’s contributions screen that initially showed 10 photos on the left, and just one pin on the map (since that bunch of photos were all “snapped-to” one point of interest). However, when I scrolled down, more photos appeared, and more pins as well. It turns out this user has 1,963 photos from many other places. The initial view is just a poor representation.

Google has functionality for groupings of pins. Maybe that could be used to prevent a zillion pins from appearing on the map at one time. There just needs to be a way to show all your (or another users’) locations.

3. Allow for Comments on Photos

Panoramio allowed you to comment below a photo, to favorite or like it, and to join a group and add your photos there. In Google Maps, this is not the case. I did find a way to comment, sort of.

If you open a photo from the photos layer of Google Maps (on a desktop or laptop), the photo opens to mostly fill your browser window. You can see a darkened box in the top left that shows minimal info for the photo and options for sharing. You can check whether the photo came from Panoramio or came from an upload to Google Maps by trying the links on the title or user’s name. The photos that came from Panoramio will have a link to the Panoramio photo page on the 2nd title, and a link to the Panoramio user page on their name. (Note: this will likely only be the case until Google turns off Panoramio for good.) The photos that came from Google Maps will link the title to a Google Plus location, and the user link will go to the user’s Contributions page. If you click to go to the Google Plus page, it shows an extremely similar photo page, but it does allow for commenting there.

This seems odd to me. Hopefully Google can link them together better to just allow commenting from the first photo page.

This is just one item among many that makes for a much diminished community aspect compared to Panoramio. Now of course Google+ allows for social networking activities. That’s what it’s for. It’s a whole new wild world compared to the Panoramio community, since Google+ is not just limited to like-minded geography and photography enthusiasts.

I have an open mind here. It can work through Google+. Google+ has commenting, Communities, etc. There is a community on Google+ for Google Map Maker with 98,000 members and there is another for Google Maps Views with 99,000. Views was the short-lived product in-between Panoramio and the current Google Maps & Local Guides. I can join a community and chat with people if I want to talk about something related to this or hiking. It’s not tightly linked to the photos as in Panoramio.

There is also the Local Guides program, and a site they built for that called Local Guides Connect. It’s an impressive community site meant for encouraging communication, participation, and sort of guiding the volunteer guides to help improve local Maps data.

So there are communication venues available but they are definitely different. I think ultimately it boils down to really just needing to have comments on the photos work better. I can adjust to the other changes.

4. Attribution

I think people should get a little credit for their contributions, and I mean a little differently than they do now. This is related to the previous item in a way. Just as it is difficult to comment on a photo found on Google Maps, it’s quite difficult to find more about a user.

With Panoramio, each user could have a small text blurb and a link in their profile area that someone would see when they were browsing that person’s photos. It’s not much, but I appreciated it! If the user has a website, then interested people might take a look.

Right now in Google Maps, if I find a photo I’m interested in and I click on it, about all I can do is see the user’s icon and click their name to see their contributions page. As I said above, that page shows a few of their photos in a small left sidebar and pins on a map that takes up most of the browser. At the top there is the user’s icon again, this time a little bigger, and their Local Guide level. You can click on their icon, but all that does is show the details of their contributions (counts of reviews, places with photos, edited places, etc.) and their Local Guide level again but bigger. If you are looking for a little more info about the user, you are out of luck.

I can’t find a way to get to Google+ after looking at a photo on Maps. Each of these Local Guides has a Google+ profile so why can’t you get to it? If you won’t let the user have any info on their Google Maps contributions page, then at least link to their Google+ profile or page.

Now there are benefits for Local Guides that achieve the various levels by their Maps contributions.

“As a Local Guide, you’ll help others explore the world and get great benefits in return. It’s a win-win.”

Wow that sounds great. 🙂

But it seems to me that those rewards mostly serve to generate more interest in the Local Guides program. One interesting benefit is additional free Google Drive storage that comes at level 4. Of course the benefits page doesn’t say how much, but I learned it was reduced from 1TB to 100GB in July 2016 probably as the number of qualifying Local Guides grew.

The Local Guides levels aren’t limited to a certain number of users so I can understand that. I hope Google thought it through when they set that up. If they get more users, will they just keep lowering the free Drive benefit? And on top of this, the Drive storage gained isn’t permanent. It lasted 2 years back when the reward was 1TB, but now it’s just 1 year for the 100GB. As one user put it, “strange gift then”.

Once you have reached level 4, gained the free Drive storage, and then it expires, then what? Can you regain it if you contribute the same amount once again? Probably not.

If I am to dedicate part of my online life to generating content for Google Maps, then I would like some slightly better kind of attribution than what I see now. Now there is just a small icon, my username, and some Local Guides benefits. Panoramio did much better here. An adjustable link somewhere would be fantastic, but at least something more.

Google to Shut Down Panoramio on Nov 4

Update: More recent Panoramio & Google Earth news here

Panoramio logo

Late on Friday, Google announced in an email to users (and a page here) they would soon close down it’s geo-positioned photo sharing site Panoramio, removing access for its users to upload new photos on November 4th, 2016. Google had previously announced back in September 2014 that it would close Panoramio in favor of the now defunct Views. However, due to user feedback and probably evolving internal plans, Google announced in June of 2015 they would leave Panoramio running for the time being. So this new development was not unexpected as Panoramio had been in limbo before.

Panoramio users will still have access to their photos in Panoramio for a period of one year, so that means until November 4th, 2017. Also, Google says that their photos will be automatically copied to the “Google Album Archive” when Panoramio is closed, as long as the user’s Panoramio account is linked with a Google account. Furthermore, if that Google account is activated for Google+, eligible images and their view counts will be transferred into Google Maps and will show for the Google account holder if they visit the Contributions screen of Google Maps. There are also export options available at

Panoramio Screenshot
Panoramio’s user page
Panoramio map view
Exploring Sequoia National Park in Panoramio

With this change, Google intends to focus its efforts, and the efforts of its users, to imagery within Google Maps itself. In the email, Google promotes the adding of new photos to Google Maps and also promotes its Local Guides program, which provides some rewards for users who contribute in certain ways.

How do Panoramio Users Take This?

As you would expect, long time Panoramio users are not enthused about this major change.

As a long time user of Panoramio myself, I enjoyed its focus on geolocated photos, with photos uploaded there appearing in Google Earth and Google Maps. I enjoy geography and surfing around Earth and Maps sometimes is a really fun way to explore an unknown place, or even help plan a trip, especially with some photos to look at right there. I got great satisfaction in being able to upload my own photos someplace and having them help to fill in the empty spots on the globe! The community of people on Panoramio was also fantastic, with commenting on photos and user organized groups. However, I had been much less active there over the last couple of years due to these announcements.

What about Panoramio’s Replacement?

I have also uploaded some photos to Google Maps, including photospheres like this one. However, I noticed the community interaction aspect is nearly nonexistent in Google Maps. You can’t comment on a photo while viewing it in Maps. You have to open it in its Google+ version by clicking the place name for the photo in the small gray box in the top left, and then it opens the Google+ version of the same photo in a new tab, where then Google+ comments are allowed. There is also hardly any recognition or attribution to the photographer relating to your uploaded photos. You can view someone’s photo after finding it on Google Maps, and you can see their user name and small icon, but there is no way for you to find more info about the person besides just looking at their other photos on Maps when you click their name. I couldn’t even find a way to navigate to their Google+ profile. There is also no way for the uploader to include a caption or a title on their photo, and it’s difficult for one to even view their own photos with just a vertical single-file display. With Panoramio, you had all of those things – title, caption, comments, and a profile that let you have a little blurb and a link somewhere. And of course there was a much better way to view your own and other user’s photos. With Google Maps, it feels more like I’m providing Google with photo content for nothing in return instead of sharing geotagged photos with others.

And that was all on a desktop web browser. With the Google Maps mobile app and mobile website, I don’t actually see any way at all to view photos. That’s understandable due to what Maps is mostly used for, but any photo sharing site would never purposely leave out mobile functionality like that. Thankfully they do allow you to see these photos on mobile another way – by using Google’s Street View app. That is the same way they allow for contributing new photos via mobile as well. I created and uploaded my photospheres using the Street View mobile app. Photospheres are definitely cool by the way.

One major deficiency I see right now is that, so far from my experience, uploaded photos only show in Google Maps; they don’t show in Google Earth. My photos at Panoramio received many more views from Google Earth users than Maps users so that seems like a problem. When Panoramio is gone, where will photos in Google Earth’s Photos layer come from?

Google Earth with Photos layer
All these clickable photos in this area of Google Earth are from Panoramio

Perhaps photos in Maps will show in Earth in the future, but if so, Google will need to be careful not to allow a flood of poor quality photos into Google Earth. Panoramio had guidelines and a review process that ensured that only useful photos showed up on the globe in Google Earth, not to mention the great community of photographers there and the site were completely geared for that purpose.

Now I like the idea for the tiered incentives they give for Local Guides based on contributions. But that new incentive comes at the expense of a lot of other things. I love sharing my photos on the map, but it’s not as fun without interaction. There is certainly a lot of potential there with the tight integration into Maps. I will follow Google’s process and maybe upload to Maps a little more, but I will definitely miss the mix of functionality that Panoramio provided. I can only hope that Google adjusts their system with Maps over time to somehow make up for the poor community features, lack of attribution, and missing connection to Google Earth.

Olympians Speak Out in Support of Public Lands

US Olympians including Katie Zaferes and Margaux Isaksen have spoken out advocating continued protection of our public lands. This comes as some circles have pushed for privatizing significant amounts of public land, while in others fear has grown about the possible selling off of some federal and state lands for private use. The uses of these lands’ natural resources could include a spectrum of different, possibly damaging, and less sustainable activities.

There are benefits from both private and public land, and each situation is different, but it should come as no surprise that athletes (and hikers) would usually favor public lands. In fact, public lands such as National Forest lands are often used for many purposes including responsible* use of natural resources, and in my opinion it’s great to have the oversight and backstop protections that a federal steward can provide. And of course it’s worth mentioning that once privatized, it would be very difficult for it to go the other way back to being public land.

*often not-so-responsible in the past, but it is getting more so

I love how Isaksen described how tramping around the outdoors and public lands was a big part of her childhood and ultimately led her to become the person and athlete she is today.

“Growing up next to the Ozark National Forest shaped me as an athlete and pushed me to become an Olympian. More importantly, growing up alongside public lands formed who I am as a person. “

And Katie Zaferes described how important training in public lands is to her as an Olympic triathelete, and how important they are to everyone.

In the face of this threat, I’m determined to raise my voice in support of America’s lands — for future athletes and for future generations… These lands aren’t just available for elite athletes though; they belong to all Americans… Let’s not get tempted by elected officials looking to make a quick buck off our shared lands; let’s make sure this resource is protected forever.

Selling Off Public Lands in Idaho – Wilderness Society video

Wow I didn’t realize they were actually considering selling federal public lands. That’s ridiculous and has to be squashed soundly. That’s terrible that Idaho is selling off so much of their state owned lands. I signed the petition, but this shows how important it is to vote. Check which candidate or party is closer to your views on public lands and vote for them! All offices.

My wife and I went thru Idaho on our honeymoon and loved it. It’s fantastically beautiful state and public lands are a huge part of its wealth. That last view  in the video looks like it may be the White Bird Battlefield overlook which we saw. We dipped our feet and waded into the Salmon River. And he mentioned the Seven Devils – we drove up to the Heaven’s Gate overlook of Hell’s Canyon and could see the Seven Devils peaks from there, awesome experience.

I take yearly backpacking trips to wilderness areas. I really look forward to those and I really remember them fondly so that is an important part of my life. That is when I feel like the narrator said, that “you’re just another being out there on the landscape, no greater, no less.” But everybody needs wilderness, even if you never visit it in person, you are enriched knowing it exists.

How to Geotag Old Photos

I recently wrote about finding a good way to geotag new photos on future hiking trips. But of course I have tons of photos from previous trips that I would like to geotag as well. It would be great if they were mapped whenever I upload to Panoramio and Google Earth/Maps, or Flickr, etc. How does one geotag old photos? Often you can set locations with these online services after you’ve uploaded the photo, but that’s only good for that particular photo site. I want my original files geotagged so that I’ll always have it, even if a particular photo hosting service goes defunct. And with the latitude and longitude in the original files, I won’t have to pin them on the map multiple times, once for each site.

After a bit of research and testing, I arrived at the methods I prefer for both Windows and Mac platforms, and I’ll describe why. In Windows I use GeoSetter, and in OS X I use GeoTag. Both are free, so I have to give a big “thank you” to the developers as payment.  I also use Picasa + Google Earth (also free), and this combination will work on both Windows and OS X. I’ll talk more about these further down, including other options I considered.

ExifTool Background Info

Both GeoSetter (Windows) and GeoTag (Mac) use ExifTool by Phil Harvey to actually save the changes to the photo metadata on single photos, so I definitely have to mention that here. ExifTool is a software library that other software can use, but there is also a Windows executable and an OS X package that allow you to run its available commands. It’s free as well, which you probably guessed, and open source also. I had come across ExifTool before when correcting the times on photos so I was familiar with it. It does the job well and is under active development. Its website notes that it supports many photo metadata formats, proprietary MakerNotes from all the major camera manufacturers, and a long list of file types. This is no small feat since photo metadata usage is a minefield of different, sometimes unpublicized proprietary formats.

No Loss Of Photo Quality

A very important note about ExifTool, and by extension the software that utilizes it, is that it does not modify your photo at all. Your JPEG images are not re-compressed and there is no loss of quality. ExifTool only modifies the metadata portion of the files and doesn’t touch the image data portion. The same goes for Picasa, but make sure you have the newest version as versions prior to 3.8 had some problems handling metadata resulting in overwriting unrelated metadata values or corruption.

ExifTool does a fantastic job at working with the metadata, but of course we need something more to do geotagging. We need a way to pick a spot on a map easily, and that’s where these applications come in.


GeoSetter geotagging program for Windows

GeoSetter helps you geotag easily in Windows. It may not have been updated in a while, but it still does the job like a champ.


To use it, you choose a directory, and thumbnails of your photos show in a pane on the left. Select an image (or multiple by holding Ctrl), then pin a spot in the Google Map in another pane on the right. Click the button to assign position marker to selected images. The affected images on the left will then show latitude and longitude underneath them in red and the name will change to red also. This shows which images you have ready to geotag, but the changes are not yet made in the files. After you’ve finished doing this to maybe all photos in a folder for example, you click the save all changes to image files button and it writes to the files. By default it will make a new copy of the files, but in settings you can tell it to overwrite the original files if you like.

One huge advantage with GeoSetter for me is that it allows you to load a GPX track file that was generated at the time you took your photos, and use that to add latitude and longitude to all your related photos in one shot! I have done this with great success for photos from hikes in the past couple years when I’ve recorded a track with a mobile app. GeoSetter uses the time your photo was taken to find the closest point time-wise that is recorded with geodata in your track file. It’s almost certain it won’t be an exact match on time of course. It will actually use the point before and after the photo’s time, then find a proportional distance between them to pick the final spot. You do have to be careful about the time. If your camera had a different time from your phone, then you’ll have to set an offset. Otherwise the photos will be stuck on the wrong part of your track. Just check the resulting photo locations to make sure it came out right.


GeoTag program for Mac

GeoTag is an excellent Mac application for assigning geolocations to your photos.


For the basic usage of GeoTag, first you open the files you wish to geotag. You can select individual files or a whole directory. This puts them in the list of photos on the left. Then select a photo (or multiple photos), and on the map at the right you pin the location to assign coordinates. Do this for all the images you want to geotag, and then hit Save in the File menu to make the change. GeoTag will move the un-geotagged file to the trash, and write a new geotagged one in the original folder. Or if you are working on a network location, it won’t be able to move the original file to the trash so instead it will save the original renamed with “_original” tacked on the end, which you can delete in Finder if you want.

Picasa + Google Earth

Using Picasa to Geotag old photos

I have recently found that Picasa will soon be discontinued, but I have kept this section here for those that may already use it.

Picasa is a photo management program from Google and an uploader to their photo hosting and sharing. When you also have Google Earth installed, Picasa will allow you to easily geotag your photos within its nice interface.

Picasa:, Google Earth:

If you already use Picasa, this can be a great option for geotagging your old photos. However, if you are just planning to geotag, then installing a photo management application like Picasa and Google Earth on top of that is overkill. Now with the news that it’s soon to lose support from Google, I wouldn’t recommend it for people that don’t already have Picasa.

I hope this write-up helped you find a good way to geotag your old photos, or at the least pointed you in the direction of what to look for. Choose the option that works best for you and your workflow. I’ll look for your photos when exploring in Google Earth!

Picasa No Longer Supported by Google After March 15

Google Picasa logo X-out

I began writing about geotagging with Picasa in another post, but I realized Google changes their photo products so ridiculously often that I’d better check on any Picasa-related news. (See Picasa Web Albums, Google+ Photos, Panoramio, Views, Google Photos…)

Lo and behold, the first thing I see is a post from today on the official Picasa blog from the Head of Google Photos, Anil Sabharwal. He says that they are discontinuing the Picasa desktop application on March 15. Wow.

“As of March 15, 2016, we will no longer be supporting the Picasa desktop application. For those who have already downloaded this—or choose to do so before this date—it will continue to work as it does today, but we will not be developing it further, and there will be no future updates.”

He doesn’t actually say it, but it sounds like it will not be available for download any longer after that time (or at least will be hidden in some way).

I’ve used Picasa for a long time, primarily in the past for uploading photos to web albums, and lately for geotagging. It has a lot of great features as a photo organization tool. Of course it’s also a very handy uploader to Google’s photo hosting and sharing platform. I was recently told I must be one of the few people still using it, but I think there are probably lots of others. In any case, Picasa had a really good run, and the developers should be proud.

Picasa Web Albums Situation

The original web sharing component to Picasa, Picasa Web Albums, is still kicking. However, it has long been hidden, redirecting to Google+ Photos. A while back they adjusted the desktop Picasa software to allow uploading to Google+ Photos as well. Currently it can upload to the new Google Photos. So it has certainly been a long time in coming for this part to go away.

Google Photos – the New Thing

Their current photo sharing service is branded Google Photos. It does have its own uploader software for desktop, but that’s about all it is. Judging from the Google Photos app page, they are trying to have you automatically upload your photos like they do on their mobile apps. It certainly won’t allow you to geotag like Picasa does/did. That and all the other mature features of Picasa will be disappearing. As for geotagging online once it’s uploaded, it sounds like that’s not an option either. Strange since that is an option in Google+.

“After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to retire Picasa over the coming months in order to focus entirely on a single photo service in Google Photos. We believe we can create a much better experience by focusing on one service that provides more functionality and works across mobile and desktop, rather than divide our efforts across two different products.”

More functionality? They could build in a geotagging ability at some point in the future I guess, but they are clearly getting rid of the desktop component. This seems strange to me as a reason to discontinue the Picasa desktop app since it already has the ability to upload to the new Google Photos. They just want to get rid of it and go with the new thing I guess (a new, far more limited Google Photos uploader app).  I can understand, and in the end that’s fine with me, as long as they don’t lose tons of features in the process. That’s what they almost did when they started switching Panoramio users to Google Views.

As for geotagging, I will post shortly have posted about some alternative geotagging methods I’ve already been using.