Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hosting pictures outside of Google/Picasa

This article is about how to use pictures stored outside of Picasa-web-albums in your blog. It also looks at the risks and issues you might face if you do this

Where does Blogger usually store pictures

When you put a picture into a blog post, it is usually stored in Picasa-web-albums, the on-line part of Google's photo management tools.

For example, the picture above this paragraph was uploaded from my desktop, and so is stored in a folder in the Picasa-web-albums associated with my Google account.

I can see it here in the album:

Alternatives to Picasa-web-albums

There are many other on-line photo storage and sharing options, eg Photobucket, flickr - and you can even use Google Docs which can now store files of all types.

For example, this photo (creative commons licensed, with no known copyright restrictions) is stored in flickr

To insert it into the post, I:
  • Used the standard Picture icon on Post Editor toolbar in Blogger, and chose the "from URL" option, and pasted in the URL

Because the photo is hosted elsewhere (in this case in flickR), it is not put into Picasa-web-albums.

Instead the code for it points to the location in flickR where it's found:
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
<a href="" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="" /></a></div>
Hosting photographs elsewhere is one way to work around the size restrictions which Google has placed on Picasa-web-albums accounts.   (Another is to link you blog to your Google + account).

You do need to make sure that the security options for the account and/or album that they're placed are set up so that at least anyone with the link is able to read the files.

Be aware that a photo that is stored outside of Picasa-web-albums cannot be used as the thumbnail for your post:   if all the illustrations in a post are stored elsewhere, then the post simply will not have a thumbnail.

Risks and Issues

Disappearing Photos

When you don't control the files that pictures are in, there is a risk that the pictures might "disappear" if whoever is hosting them (flickR in the above example) decides to move them or even just change the structure of their URLs - and you can see that this has happened with the example I used above.

There is, of course, the same risk with PWA, but since you need to be signed in to put a file into Picasa, Google knows that it's yours and can email you and let you know about upcoming changes.  flickR, on the other hand, has no record my setting up an URL to the photo, so cannot give me any warning.


Picasa/Google have various tools for showing slideshows in blogs.  The specific features that any photo-sharing tool has change from time to time, but by using the tools from Google there is more chance that the will definitely work well with other Google tools, like Blogger.

Related Articles

Applying copyright protection to your blog

Putting HTML from a 3rd party into your blog

Putting a slideshow into a Blogger post

Picasa - a basic introduction

Understanding post.thumbnail, the picture used to summarise a post

Creating a button that links to your blog.

Share this Article


HTML link code:

BB (forum) link code:

Subscribe to Blogger-hints-and-tips

FeedBurner will send a confirmation message. Click the verify link in it to start your subscription.

Follow Me on Pinterest Subscribe to Blogger-HAT on Google + RSS subscription icon Follow BloggerHAT on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. In the case of the disappearing images, would this be the same for images sourced via pinterest if they change the structure of their URL? I have noticed many of my images have disappeared from my blog. so frustrating!