I use Picasa Web Albums a lot to upload and embed photos onto my sites. But in 2013, Google synced Picasa albums with Google+, and now we have couple of annoying Google+ features on Picasa that I think are not very useful to the users and need improvements.

Previously, we talked about Picasa to Google+ redirection, pretty annoying gimmick that was. Now we have another one – forced auto quality manipulation of Picasa uploads.

This post is a quick tip to stop this imposed auto-manipulation of photo uploads at Picasa.

Why Picasa manipulating my photos?

Again Google+ is the guilty party here. As Picasa Web Albums are now synced with Google+ photos, the Auto enhance feature is automatically applied to the Picasa uploads too.

Although this enhancement mostly brightens up your photos, but sometimes it outputs low-quality, gray-washed photos as well. This auto-enhancement doesn’t come out to be good with:

  • Transparent and semi-transparent images
  • Already re-touched or optimized images
  • Images with dark or dull or shady appearance

Google+ auto-enhance feature makes the above types of images slightly dark or gray in appearance. Notice that color change in the below example image:

Quality comparison of Picasa uploads and original photo
That added gray background color won’t look cool on websites with white backgrounds

Picasa upload, as shown in the above image, doesn’t look good on websites with light content background. People who use Blogger to write blogs might have also experienced the quality and color changes in their uploads, as they have Picasa as the default and the only image host for their blogs.

Disabling this auto-manipulation of photos can again give you photo uploads with original quality. How to do so, is explained in the next section of the post.

Reverting auto-enhanced image to the original

Currently, Picasa do not have any options to control this photo manipulation, and you can control it only from Google+.

All of your Picasa uploads are also present in your Google+ photos. If you want to turn-off the enhancement one-by-one for selective photos, you can do it by clicking an image thumbnail in your photo gallery, then clicking the enhanced button and selecting Off from the list. (See screenshot):

Turn-off image enhancement in Google+
Turn-off image enhancement for specific images

Turning-off Google+ photo manipulation for all Picasa uploads

It takes only a few seconds to do so, but note that the Auto Enhance feature will be turned off for both the Picasa as well as Google+ uploads. However, you can turn it on again anytime.

After signing into your Google+ account, follow the instruction give below to disable photo manipulation:

  1. Move to the Settings section in the side menu.
    Google+ Settings link
    Click the Google+ Settings link in the side menu
  2. You’re on the Google+ settings page now. There are a lot of options on there, you need to look for the Auto Enhance and Auto Awesome sections and turn them off. Choose the ‘Off’ option for the Auto Enhance, and uncheck the Auto Awesome checkbox option. See the screenshot below for more help in locating these two options in the Settings:
    Google+ Photo Settings
    Turning-off Auto Enhance and Auto Awesome options in Google+

    The changes will be saved automatically.

All done! From now, the quality of your Picasa upload will stay constant and won’t catch any automatic changes due to Google+ interference.

What else can you do?

  • Use a different image hosting service that doesn’t manipulates images while uploading.
  • Wait till Google+ introduces more controls for the same, and you can control this modification during or after uploading.

Hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know your thoughts on this or add me on Google+.