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My phone has 950 images, I should probably clean it up but that is another story. I plug the phone into my Laptop running XP and Picasa Ver 3.8.0 (Build 117.29,0) I then open Picasa and click on “import” and first Picasa begins loading 952 images, when finished it begins copying 952 images even though I have checked “exclude duplicates” and all the older images are marked with circle x as already downloaded.
It does not seem to matter whether I create a new folder to import into or select the month folder (201104 in this case), everything on the phone is imported. I resolve this by going into Windows explorer (with Picasa closed) and deleting the files I don't want and moving the remaining files into the folder where I want them. Picasa then obediently scans the folders and makes it all nice.
This used to work the way it is supposed to, only downloading the new images. I cannot imagine what I am doing differently. I have tried connecting the phone before starting Picasa and after. I can get the pictures I want into my computer by using Windows Explorer and dragging the images I want from the phone into the folders where I want them and then letting Picasa scan the folders, but this is a bit too brute force.
I have a similar experience with my Droid, but not exactly. I think what you're seeing is just the first part of Picasa's import process. Picasa has to go thru the process of reading the picture files into the import tray before it can determine what are duplicates, and display the thumbnails for you to choose from. The entire process goes like this:
1. Loading … quickly displaying thumbnails of all the available pictures
2. Copying … to the Import Tray – actually a hidden temporary folder on your computer. This is the part that takes the longest, and probably when you think they're being 'copied' to your computer. They aren't being copied to your My Pictures area … that's step 3. This is just part of Picasa's preparation for your import.
3. The next step is that you select the ones you want, specify a location, and choose 'Import Selected' or 'Import All' (even with Import All, it won't import duplicates if you have the box checked)
4. After the Import is complete, behind the scenes, Picasa will clean up the temporary folder and delete all the pictures it copied during this process.
Picasa is designed for taking pictures off a camera's card. Importing them onto your computer, then deleting them from your card. If that is the procedure you follow, you'll never have more than a hundred or two pictures available.
The problem with our camera phones is that we leave pictures on the phone for viewing, so – like you, I have several hundred pictures on my phone and step #2 above can take over 5 minutes. Very irritating.
See this thread from the Picasa users' forum for more in depth discussion of the process.
Back to the Droid:
Because I am unwilling to wait 5 minutes just to get those last few pictures I took with my Droid, I don't use Picasa's Import for this. I use Windows Explorer. Just like you say you did. Windows Explorer doesn't do step 2. When I plug in the Droid and set it to use USB Storage, it shows up in Windows Explorer as a Drive letter. I can open that, find the folder with the pictures (DCIM/Camera on mine) Select the few pictures I want, copy them, and paste them into the appropriate folder in My Pictures. Much Faster than using Picasa.
When I next look at Picasa, it will find that new pictures have been added to one of it's watched folders. Works just fine for me. I don't see it as brute force, I just see it as using the right tool for the job. In the case of hundreds of pictures on a device and you only want a few – Picasa is simply not the right tool for the job.
Patience was never my primary virtue, especially when it comes to computers. I will revert to the brute force approach (using windows Explorer) for both speed and simplicity as that way I will not repeatedly bring in images from the phone that I have deleted from the hard Disk.
Thank you for the quick response