One of the benefits of using Google’s online services is that all your media and documents can be integrated across platforms and with various Android and iOS mobile apps. This form of integration means for example that you can access photos uploaded to the web version of your Google Picasa Web Albums account on your mobile devices, in your Google+ account, as well as in supporting mobile third-party applications.
One such useful iPad app in this regard is Web Albums HD for Picasa and Google+ ($3.99), which allows you to upload and manage photos and videos to your Picasa Web albums (which is also compatible with your Google+ albums) and stream the content to your Apple TV via AirPlay. The simplicity and straightforward user interface of Web Albums HD is why we have added it to our Best of iPad apps page.
Web Albums HD is similar to the Photo Library app on the iPad. After you log into your Picasa or Facebook web account, the app will connect to and interface with your uploaded albums and photos. If your images have been tagged, that data will also be downloaded into the app.
You can create new albums inside the app, and batch upload photos from your iPad’s Camera Roll, and other photo albums, directly to your Picasa or Facebook accounts. You can also shoot and upload photos videos from within Web Albums using the built-in camera found under the Upload button in the app’s menu bar.
The uploading and management features also include the ability to resize photos, edit and add captions and comments before uploading them, and to share content with friends and family via email and your Facebook and Picasa accounts. Photos and videos can also moved between albums and cached for quick offline access.
The Settings area of Web Albums includes a variety of custom controls, including how you want photos displayed in albums (e.g. New to Old, Old to New, alphabetically by title), your choice of the photo and video quality of uploads — standard or HD – and even the ability to selectively hide albums in the app.
This latter feature, not available in the iPad’s Photo Library, can be useful for when you’re using the app to give a presentation and you don’t want all your albums publicly displayed.
The Settings options for uploading photos allow you to select the image size for uploading images and videos, the ability to upload photos only via Wi-Fi, an option to automatically save a copy of photos taken from within the app to the iPad’s Photo Library. You can also choose to have Web Albums strip location data from photos, as well as hide caption entries.
As with the Photo Library, Web Albums contains a slideshow feature, including custom settings for the length of time each image is displayed (2-20 seconds), options for automatic repeat and shuffling of the displayed images, and the ability to select a song from the iPad’s iTunes library for slideshow background music. The slideshow feature also includes three different transitions, including an option to display captions added to photos.
Web Albums HD unfortunately does not include image editing tools, but you can’t export photos to other iOS photography apps, such as the iOS version of iPhoto, or to third-party apps like Camera+. Web Albums seems to integrate with nearly all the iOS apps that support photo and video uploads, including Dropbox, Evernote, FlickStackr, and Tumblr.
The app also displays EXIF data (e.g., filename, original image and video size, camera model, exposure data) for each photo. You can use the familiar iPad finger gesture features for swiping back and forth between photos, and pinch with two fingers to enlarge selected photos on the screen. Photos and videos can be streamed to your Apple TV from your iPad using Airplay.
Web Albums also allows you to add multiple Picasa accounts, and the ability to explore the albums and photos of your friends’ accounts. Additionally, the app includes a passcode feature for securing content.
If you are a regular Google and iPad user, you will find that Web Albums HD is just as useful as Google’s other iPad and iPhone apps, such as Google+ for the iPad, which enable you to access your accounts more directly, without the use of a web browser.
Let us know what you think of this photo and video management app. If you already use Web Albums, let us know what additional features you would like to see added.