Flickr v. Picasa

The Fall of 2007 was pretty eventful for me. I was starting my first semester of college at SHSU, I had recently received an Apple Macbook Pro and a Canon Rebel XTi from each of my parents as high school graduation presents, and I was starting to really enjoy “social networking” on the internet. I decided to start actively learning how to use my SLR, and thus eventually needed a place online to store/share my photos. Back in middle/high school I used Photobucket, but felt like that was starting to get “old”, and decided to search for a new option. I noticed a lot of my new friends online were using a website called Flickr, and while I had heard of it before, I’d never attempted to use it. I signed up for my account in November 2007, and the rest (for the most part) is history. You can see my current stream here:

Now it’s nearly 4 years later and I’ve paid a grand total of $74.85 for my upgraded Flickr Pro account. I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about the benefits of the semi-newly-remodeled Picasa, with a lot of focus on the “bang for your buck”. Picasa provides every user with 1 free GB of storage for photos, but if you wish to upgrade, there’s multiple plans available. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to attempt to transfer some of my pictures over, if anything just so I would have another use for Google+. 😉

Come to find out, not one legitimate application exists for such a task (migrating photos from Flickr to Picasa on a Mac), so I had to dig a little deeper to see if there may be another option that wouldn’t involve me downloading all my stuff and having to then upload/tag it elsewhere. Eventually I came across this post by Ed Parsons (a Geospatial Technologist at Google): Ed explains that by using a Python script (developed by Nathan Van Gheem), all your Flickr data can be transferred to Picasa completely through Terminal, without needing any of the photos to download to your computer first.

Personally I’ve never used Python, but I’m a fast learner so I figured I could somehow get through it. Long story short, I did eventually get the script working- but there were definitely bumps in the road. I’ve taken the opportunity to dumb-down the instructions so that even a complete Python novice like myself can get it working in 15 minutes or less.

How to Transfer All Your Flickr Photos to Picasa in 15 Minutes or Less (Sort Of)

Note: Make sure all of your Flickr photos are in sets, as this script does not transfer pictures that aren’t currently organized into one.

Step 1. Download this python script, and save it to your Downloads folder:

Step 2. Open Terminal

Step 3. One at a time, type each of these lines into Terminal and press enter:

easy_install-2.6 gdata

easy_install-2.6 flickrapi

easy_install-2.6 threadpool

Step 4. Go to the Flickr App Garden ( and apply for a non-commercial API key. I called mine Flickr to Picasa Transfer and put the description: I need an api key so that I can make a copy of all my Flickr photos and transfer them to Picasa for backup.

After you submit your request, you should be provided with a Key and Secret.

Step 5. In Terminal, make the script executable by typing:

chmod +x ~/Downloads/

Step 6. On a new line, now type:


Step 7. Terminal will ask you for your Picasa login information. In case you didn’t know, this is the same as your Google login. Enter that in, and then input your Flickr Key and Secret when it asks for each of those too.

Step 8. Watch it all go! Make sure you leave Terminal open during this process, otherwise the migration will be stopped.

How long will it take to transfer everything?
I had about 1,000 photos migrate over, with at least ¾ of them being 2-3 MB in size. This took ~6 hours total, but seeing as nothing was asked of me after Step 8, the amount of time wasn’t a huge deal. Good luck!