I was thrilled when a former coworker invited me to join Google+. I felt like the cool kid in town. I quickly signed up as there weren’t many steps since I already have Google logins for Gmail, Picasa and Blogger. My personal blog is Lex & Learn, and I’ve been slowly building it and dedicating more time to it since my first post in 2009.
In setting up my Google+ profile, one step I spent a bit of extra time on was the automatic linking of all Picasa photos to my Google+ account. There were a lot of random photos (old apartments, vacation rental home pictures, etc.) that I didn’t want linked to my Google+ profile, so I deleted them. Because this was part of the Google+ signup, I only thought I was deleting them from my new profile—not forever.
I was very wrong, and it appears I am not alone.
Since the signup process didn’t make it clear, I feel the need to send a quick warning to everyone who has or may be getting ready to sign up for Google+ that if you delete Picasa web albums that are also linked to a Blogger account, you will lose every single photo on your blog.
Just take a look at this forum thread from other panicked bloggers like me here. What’s even more frustrating is that I have never used Picasa to upload, edit or store photos for my personal blog. I always use the Blogger uploader tool, and had absolutely no idea that everything was being linked to Picasa – relying on that Google product to store everything.
I’ve searched high and low for a response from Google and so far all I can find is this:
Our team can’t undelete your photos, but we’ll make it clearer that your Picasa photos themselves are displayed on Google+ and not copied. It’s the same backend, so photos you upload in Picasa are visible from Google+, and vice versa.
I realize this isn’t helpful for those who’ve already deleted their photos, but going forward, make backups and make them often. You can download a .ZIP file of your photos and other Google account data using Google Takeout at https://www.google.com/takeout/
This response, of course, included no apology, and no reference to people’s concern that Blogger users are in no way prompted that Google+ and Picasa impact all blog photo storage. And unfortunately, Google feels that it is our fault for not backing up more.
If you aren’t a blogger, you may think being “heartbroken” over this is a tad dramatic. But honestly, when you lose a good part of three years worth of personal work, that is how it feels. Mainly, I want to put a warning out so that anyone and everyone understands this issue with Google+, and to hopefully prevent it from happening to anyone else. Please share this with coworkers, friends and family who keep Blogger blogs and may accidentally delete their photos in the setup process.
And, if you discover a fix or a magical land where deleted Picasa web albums live, please share it!
Note: Since this happened I have been slowly reposting pictures to my personal blog.