Mobile

The problem with social photo syncing

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Last thanksgiving Americans shared over 10 million photos on Instagram – that’s a lot of vintage-looking turkeys.

As impressive as that number is it tells us two important things; first, it shows how the social web and the mobile web are getting closer; and second, it shows us that photography is becoming a core part of our sharing habits.

Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Twitter have noticed this too.  As we’ve reported before, these sites have all issued major updates in the past 18 months designed to make it easier for us to upload, share, and interact with photographs.

They call it ‘seamless sharing’ but ‘indiscriminate sharing’ would be a more descriptive name for it.

Dropbox, Facebook, and Google+’s apps automatically upload all the photographs you take with your smartphone. Once online you can decide to share them, or delete them.  The problem is, content we delete from social providers remains on their servers for some time.

But what if you don’t want all of your photos automatically uploaded to these companies’ servers? Using their 20% time, two developers, Kyle and Antonie, working for the Irish digital agency Arekibo have started to tackle this problem.

They’re developed an app, called photoQ, which allows users to selectively upload their smartphone photographs to Facebook.  The aim of app is to give users more control over the images that they do upload to their Facebook account.

But we shouldn’t have to rely on third party developers, working in their own time, to give us back control over our own data.

Automatic photo uploading is convenient for us and our social providers but it shouldn’t be a binary, on-or-off, service.

As with our other data, we should have control over what we upload – if we decide that there are some photos that we want to sync and others that we don’t, we should have that ability.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).