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The Things I Love, Pt. 3: Social Networks and Photo Sharing

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“Then there’s sharing to social networks and other services. On my iPhone, I can share photos in my camera roll via email, iMessage, Photo Stream, Twitter, and Facebook. I have Google +,, Instagram, Flickr and more installed, but I can’t sent [sic] the image to them – I have to go into those apps and then find the image in my camera roll. When I take a picture on my Nexus 4, I can share it to WhatsApp, Bluetooth, Picasa, Messages, Google +, email, Flipboard, WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, Snapseed, Twitter, Evernote, Skype…you get the idea” [Killian Bell, “How I Fell Out of Love with My iPhone 5 and Fell In Love With The Nexus 4”].

Killian Bell has already explained in recent posts that he has been captivated by his Nexus 4 since the day he started testing the Google phone. As I have said in posts prior, it is remarkable that Bell has been so forthcoming about his fascination with the Nexus 4, considering that he has been an avid iPhone user for five years. He has commended Android for its customizations and the number of files/folders you can create on the Android OS. In the above statement, Killian Bell praises another feature of Android: its multiple social networks that you have access to, right from your camera app.

Killian Bell writes that, while he has some social apps he can share photos with directly, he must share others by going into the apps first. He’s right to say that Android makes it easier to share photos by allowing the user to upload any photo immediately from the camera app, already preinstalled on the smartphone. Bell had a number of social apps he could rattle off, while the choices are limited with iOS — another sign that iOS is too controlled.

There is a way to get around problems with Google + and ensure that your photos are uploaded: Google + comes with what is known as an “Instant Upload” feature that allows you to link your photos to Google + and have your Google + automatically upload your photos from the photo section of your smartphone. The Instant Upload features also offer an unlimited cloud storage for photos so that you can load 100 or 2000 photos on your Google + account.

Social media interaction is a major part of the smartphone experience these days. When someone takes a photo today, he or she wants to share it with friends and family (or even business colleagues). When iOS limits the number of social media apps, it limits a significant portion of the user experience. Who gets joy out of taking photos if you only want to keep them for yourself? shouldn’t photo sharing serve as a portion of the social media experience? Consumers share jokes, hellos, special discussions, and links to articles and videos that are significant to them; why would photos be any different?

It is in the area of software that we see Android’s great strength: after all, Google does own and create the software that is Android; along with your social media account at Google Plus, you also have an email account that is connected to your social account. Your videos, pictures, and profile are all connected at Google + — allowing us to see the streamless experience that Google provides. In contrast, Apple does not master its software that well (just think of the Maps fiasco, the “Do Not Disturb” Bug, and other WiFi bugs for new iPhone 5 customers). Apple’s very own “Ping” social network was a flop, and the company provides everything via iCloud — an inaccessible place when compared to the photos and emails that are saved in Google’s space.

I own both a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an iPhone 4S; while the photo sharing experience is a breeze on my S3, it is similar on my iPhone — but only because my photos are connected to my Gmail account by way of Instant Upload. Google, in the end, makes the experience easier to handle with my iPhone than it would be if I didn’t have it. Even with a G+ plus, app, however, it is still not perfect — Instant Upload from my iPhone app takes much longer to accomplish (and is much slower) than my G+ app on my Android smartphone.

There is another point worth noting about Google versus Apple: cloud storage. I have said it many times before when comparing the two. Apple’s cloud storage is limited to 5GB, while Google’s email and document storage is limited to 10GB. Your emails and documents can use up 10GB of cloud storage before it is full and there is no limit to the number of photos you can place in your Gmail cloud storage. After you consume the 5GB of free cloud storage with Apple, you have to sign up for a cloud storage plan each year (that comes with additional costs). While you may still need a cloud storage plan with Google, you do not need an additional plan if you want to store photos only. Google offers you more space for photos and lets you send documents to your 10GB of email space. I’ve been storing class notes in a special “notes” section in my Gmail box. It takes care of the need for paper, since I only have my seminar once a week.

If you want to have unlimited photo storage and the freedom to share your photos via any social network, look no further than Google and Android. Killian Bell is right on this point as well as the others.

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