Do I now have to use Google Plus to load & view my Picasa web albums?
I can't find out how to NOT use Google+ when trying to view my web albums.
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You don't need to switch to Google+ (although you should probably start considering doing so - it is clear that most new work is going into Google+ Photos and PicasaWeb is on the way out).
You can go directly to https://picasaweb.google.com/?noredirect=1 and it will leave you at the PicasaWeb album page without trying to redirect you to Google+ Photos.