Migrating from Flickr to Picasaweb

First off.. if you have a digital camera and you are only storring your precious pictures on your computer, you need to get online quickly and make use of one of the many picture sharing sites, this is where the “cloud” really can have an impact, as your pictures will be storred on literally hundreds of separate computeres professionally managed, safe from fire, theft and dropping your macbook down the stairs!

You could of course use Facebook which actually has very good controls as to who you allow to see your photos, although as we are all aware these change frequently so there is a danger you may end up as the face of a protesting blogger.

I’ve been a happy user of Flickr professional for many years, and I still really like the service, however over the last month or so I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to move my digital memories to Picasaweb. It turns out that this is not a simple process and moving 1500 pictures could be very time consuming, because while there are many tools to bulk upload your images there are done to do the reverse and download them, but fortunately for the geek both systems have api’s, that with some effort, can make the migration of your pictures a viable proposition.

The key component to the migration was a python script I found developed by Nathan Van Gheem last year, which used both services api’s to migrate not just pictures but albums and much of their metadata between the services.

So here we go, these instructions are for  mac users who are in the lucky position of having python installed by default, but for windows are pretty similar are you have installed Python.

From a terminal window, install the two photo service api’s and the threadpool packages for Python

easy_install-2.6 gdata
easy_install-2.6 flickrapi
easy_install-2.6 threadpool


To use the python script you will need to authenticate against each of the services to access your pictures, for picassaweb this is your username and password, for Flickr because you are using in effect an external application to access your pictures you will  need a Flickr API Key and secret.

From your Flickr account go the App Garden and apply for your own non-commercial API key. You need to provide a few details, but will end up with the api key  string and a separate secret key string, something like..

Key: e97df11b147f9c46c2ec002b29f479df
Secret: 8fe34c331abbce32


Now you have all you need..

Remember to make your downloaded script executable

chmod +x 


And run it


You should be asked to enter firstly your picassweb details, then your flick api key and secret, you should then be taken to a flickr webpage to confirm you want the script to have access to your pictures.

This script will move all the photos and sets from flickr over to picasa.    
That will require getting authentication information from both services...    

Authenticating with Picasa...
Picasa Username(complete email)
Picasa Password:
Authenticating with Flickr..
Flickr API Key:e97df11b147f9c46c2ec002b29f479df
Flickr API Secret:8fe34c331abbce32
Press ENTER after you authorized this program


Confirm that it’s ok, go back to the terminal window and press enter for the script to continue.

The process will take some time, so go grab a coffee and look forward to seeing your pictures in picasweb !

Written and submitted from the Windsor Hotel Taichung, Taiwan (24.179N, 120.623E)

33 replies on “Migrating from Flickr to Picasaweb”

Hey Ed, thanks for the script. I’m having an error, I was hoping you could help out? I have a google apps account that I log into picasa with, not sure if that causes the error. I tried the stock version of the script, as well as a modified version (based on Morgan’s comment above).

Any help would be much appreciated 🙂

Found 34 sets to move over to Picasa.
Moving “XXXXXXX” set over to a picasa album. 1/34
Gathering set “XXXXXXX” information.
Found 11 photos and videos in the XXXXXXX flickr set.
/Library/Python/2.6/site-packages/gdata-2.0.14-py2.6.egg/gdata/photos/ DeprecationWarning: BaseException.message has been deprecated as of Python 2.6
Traceback (most recent call last):
File “/Users/jack/”, line 335, in
File “/Users/jack/”, line 295, in do_migration
picasa_albums = get_picasa_albums(set_title, aset, len(all_photos))
File “/Users/jack/”, line 185, in get_picasa_albums
picasa_album = gd_client.InsertAlbum(title=id, summary=aset.find(‘description’).text, access=’protected’)
File “build/bdist.macosx-10.6-universal/egg/gdata/photos/”, line 358, in InsertAlbum (403, ‘Forbidden’, ‘Not authorized to modify this resource.’)

I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to coding so I’m clearly attempting to swim in water way above my head but migrating from Flickr to Picasa (w/o losing all the metadata) is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I think I can figure out the scripts for python once I’m in the terminal window but I don’t quite understand how to install the gdata API or the Flickr API prior to running the above script.

Can anyone in this forum give me a few tips or point me to a place I can find some more in depth directions for a newbie like me? Thanks


You should just be able to type “easy_install-2.6 gdata” and “easy_install-2.6 flickrapi” at the terminal window prompt to install the necessary libraries.

Dennis, I’m a total noob when it comes to scripting/Terminal. Thus far I’ve done this:

Downloaded the script (it’s in my downloads folder and in the same folder as Terminal),
Successfully loaded python (3.2.1),
Successfully loaded gdata (2.0.14),
Successfully loaded flickrapi (1.4.2),
Successfully loaded threadpool (1.2.7).

In Terminal, when I try to input chmod +x I get this (No such file or directory):

Chucks-MBP:~ chuck$ chmod +x
chmod: No such file or directory

Then, thinking I didn’t have to do the chmod thing, I input just and got this (command not found):

Chucks-MBP:~ chuck$
-bash: command not found

What am I doing wrong here (besides swimming in very deep water)? Am I doing anything right? 😉

TIA, Chuck

Foir those of you having issues, it may be because you have Python 2.7 installed.

Try running these instead:

easy_install-2.7 gdata
easy_install-2.7 flickrapi
easy_install-2.7 threadpool


Hi Ed,

I’m having the same problem as Chuck. I’ve already installed the three packages and received my Flickr keys, but now I’m unable to get past the “chmod +x ” step.

Rachels-MBP:~ rachelmayo$ chmod +x
chmod: No such file or directory

I also tried (without success):
Rachels-MBP:~ rachelmayo$ chmod +x ~/Users/rachelmayo/Desktop/

Any help would be greatly appreciated! 🙂


How did you install threadpool? I did download it, but when I run python threadpool to install it, I get the following message.

Traceback (most recent call last):
File “”, line 3, in
from setuptools import setup
ImportError: No module named setuptools

I figured out what my issue was! Instead of:

chmod +x

I needed to simply move the .py file to my Downloads folder and type:

chmod +x ~/Downloads/

After inputting my Picasa/Google login info and my Flickr API keys to terminal, the script is finally working. Thanks again for this script! 🙂

Hi Ed,

Downloaded and installed python 2.7.2 but failed to installed the rest of the components gdata, flickrapi, threadpool.

Opened up a python shell:

Python 2.7.2 (default, Jun 12 2011, 15:08:59) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on win32

>>> easy_install-2.7 gdata
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

>>> easy_install-2.7 flickrapi
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

Do i need to install easy_install ? and then hunt each of those components down separately or are they already included in the python package? I’m able to find “threadpool-1.2.7-py2.6.egg” which does nothing when it was executed. A bit lost here.

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