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Facebook testing new Android-only photo upload

Oh, wait, have I seen this before somewhere? Why yes I have. Google+ has had this feature on its mobile clients for a while. What does it do? Automatically upload photos from your mobile phone to a private area on Facebook. 

This points to the current state of Facebook's mobile strategy: filling in holes.

Facebook got behind in the mobile race. Last week it caught up quite a bit with an iOS app that, well, finally works. The previous one was so slow it was unusable. 

Today's feature testing (it's only available to some USA users on Android only) is yet another example of how it's currently playing catchup. This is a good feature. 

Will Facebook users understand it? I hope so. Automatic uploading is a killer feature. Facebook is obviously moving slowly to make sure its users don't get freaked out. It moves them to a private area and the photos are NOT shared until you explicitly share them. Just like the Google+ feature. 

Some other details I've learned:

1. It will upload a lower resolution version if you are on 3G or 4G. 960 pixels. On Wifi it will sync a higher resolution version. 2048 pixels.
2. It is opt in. 
3. Only available on Android. You need to get the latest version, which is 1.9.9.
4. Only available to SOME users in United States. It's clearly being tested right now. If users like it, I'm sure it'll be expanded to other users.
5. The new Android version has a variety of other bug fixes. I'm not sure what else they fixed. Let me know if you find other things that have changed.
6. None of Facebook's auto tagging or face detection features are used here until you make the photos public.

Get it on the Android Play store now and see if the new feature is turned on for you.

Oh, and thank you to the Google+ team for keeping the heat on. Competition is good for consumers. Can't wait to see what is next for either Facebook or Google+ users.
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62 comments
 
Neat! I've come to the conclusion FB won't be going anywhere soon, so making the best of it should be easier with this. =)
 
This is one of the reasons that the web is a better place with Google around.
 
They should start all these announcements with "Thank you again for the idea Google+..."
 
So Apple and Facebook are now copying Google? ;-) 
Okay, so thats a cheeky thing to say. As you say, competition is good. I love Auto Upload, went through my uploaded section the other day looking for a certain type of photo and of course it was there! Just have to know what devices to turn it on for! ;-)
Will be an interesting feature with this run of Point and Shoot cameras running Android! 
 
what benefit is it for android users to automatically sync their photos in two separate servers?
 
Automatic uploading is only a killer feature if you have 4G. It kills in another way if you don't.
 
It's a shame they're not testing a non-brutally-slow new build instead.
 
+Phillip Malone I think I need to make a "who is copying whom" chart for the industry. It's certainly not as easy as when everyone just took stuff that Xerox PARC invented (like when Ethernet went to 3Com, page description languages went to Adobe, word processing went to Microsoft, laser printers went to HP and Apple, menuing and windowing OS went to Apple, etc).
 
+Jeffrey Hamby hmm, the Facebook app I have on my Nexus7 isn't that slow. It could be faster, though. I am really liking the new iOS apps on iPhone and iPad.
 
Honestly I just want to see Facebook die, no that's a little harsh...
 
Terrible on my Xoom and on my GS2 Skyrocket, so bad that I just wait and use the desktop instead.
 
+Robert Scoble I think you are missing one point though: While it is necessary for FB to provide their users with the latest mobile technology, which, dear Facebook, should also work..., I can't see a sustainable business model for FB to monetize the mobile experience. How does Zuck fill the hole that expectations of the IPO caused, i.e. many analysts and tech outlets were going along the hype mentioning the potential of the mobile industry that FB/Zuck hasn't unlocked yet.
 
Users: 2 days after the release of this feature: OMGGGG!! Why is all my photos uploaded to public.

Facebook: There was a glitch in the app that leaked everyone's photos from their phone to public. We're sorry. 

I have to admit. When I got my Facebook friends on G+ for the first time, the instant upload scared them, they were like: What kinda fail social network is this? This sucks! - After I explained that it uploads to a private folder and you can go and edit what photos you want to share to the public, they were still not convinced. After few weeks, all they do is upload to G+ like its a cloud service lol. I don't see this working for Facebook, with all those bugs, privacy concerns and a horrible app.
 
+Adi Breuer oh, I can see a way for Facebook to build a monster advertising network. Only Facebook has API relationships with my favorite mobile apps, from Runkeeper to Spotify to Highlight to Waze. I predict that within a few months people won't be wondering about Facebook's mobile future anymore.
 
There's an update for Facebook here in Australia but it's for bugfixes only. FB runs so crappy on Android and even on my iPad FB; the photos displayed are low quality compared to the GPlus app. I only hang around FB because of family & some friends...
 
+Robert Scoble I can see the ads network, no doubt about that, but knowing some of the industry's numbers, I question the hype around the size of the profitability of mobile ads and I doubt the impact of this ads network on FB's bottom-line. There is too much vague talk about the revenues that mobile ads generate for businesses. I think, we should start to move on and put tangible numbers on the table. 
 
I don't trust Facebook enough to turn that on. I do trust Google for that.
 
+Phillip Conroy hmm, I do like the Google+ app on iPad slightly more, but the latest is very fast and photos look pretty good on it. Not sure why I'm seeing good stuff on Facebook's iPad app and you aren't. Hmm. I have the latest iPad, with Retina display. You?
 
+Robert Scoble that's quite the dynamic profile pic you have there, at first glance appears to be a hatchet you are ready to bring down, great takeoff using video camera with mic as the "new weapon."
 
+Robert Scoble it is the latest iPad but the images still looks low quality, maybe it's just my friends on FB are crappy photographers? lol
 
That's why Google+ will ultimately win, innovation.
 
I do subscribe to Trey Ratcliff on Facebook as well as following him here on GPlus, his images look better on GPlus. I use an app on the iPad called "Web Albums HD" which will display all my images from Google Plus & Facebook. The images from GPlus (or Picasa really) are superior to FB... I wish they release this app on the the Android platform...

P.S I was given the new iPad as a gift, it's not my platform of choice...

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/web-albums-hd-for-picasa/id364824944?mt=8
 
Wait, do people still trust Facebook?
 
News flash: myspace announces new feature that everybody else has.  Result?  Still irrelevant...
 
Zuck took fb public because he had to, so he did it on his terms as best he could. Our future world is going to be so dominated by the mobile space that it wont even be thought of as 'the mobile space' it will simply be life. Fb has the right people on the bus (for that matter google does as well) the revenue streams are unavoidable. But yeah, instant upload on google+ has been awesome, and since fb does it now too I might consider it.
 
I like the instant upload option on GPlus where you upload your photos  & videos on wi-fi only. You get home & it just does it all in the background...
 
Doesn't seem to be available to me yet. Glad to see them doing this; if Facebook had moved first, I'd be excited, but I can't see auto-uploading my photos to both G+ and Facebook.

I already use G+ auto-upload to post photos to Facebook, so there'd not even be much advantage (though I'm sure it'd be a quicker process to post photos already in a private folder on Facebook to Facebook).

The limitations also bug me-- smaller size if uploaded over mobile data, and a total of 2gb storage. Neither would be very limiting, but they bug me still.

Honestly, lately I've just been using a bookmark to Facebook's mobile site in lieu of their Android app. Makes a noticeable difference in battery life, and I lose very few features I care about (and some can be replaced with third party apps, e.g. sharing a photo from the gallery to Facebook).
 
I'm not sure how this is enhancing shareholder value.
 
Why didn't Google patent it?
 
They may have, takes a long time to process a patent.
 
Google Wrote Android! If they didn't have this App, they'd be Insane!
 
The Google Sync & Instant Upload are awesome feature. I recently had to factory reset my Galaxy Nexus, but when I reset up my account everything was up to date. All of the photos, apps and contacts all are there within minutes. Google+ is far ahead from the other social network.
 
I kept seeing log messages(I'm an android developer) today about facebook failing to upload a photo..  now I understand why.  Apparently, even if it's not enabled for you(since I'm in Canada and this is US only), it still tries to upload them all the time and then fails.  Way to go, Facebook. Can't you do anything right?
 
My contract with Rackspace stipulates I can't take compensation from any other company.
 
I'm surprised Google doesn't have a patent on this.
 
How exactly do you patent "automatically upload user data to teh (sic) cloud"  I wish I was a patent lawyer.... easy money
 
I use fb as a journalist and to keep in touch with people I care about. But I don't trust fb. And I don't let anything sync automatically to them.
 
+tim peterson the comical level is of the kind of discussion that goes on here. Let's see, Facebook is way more used around the world than Google+. Seems like if I was a balanced journalist I'd cover it a lot more than I would cover Google+. What's funny is that over on Twitter and on Facebook I get attacked for talking about Google+ and linking to it so often. Seems like if everyone thinks I'm doing something wrong I'm doing something right.
 
+Matthieu Norville yeah. Facebook has a PE ratio of 106.63. Even after the famous stock slide. Apple? 15.83. Google? 20.40. Yeah, Zuck should be removed after building one of the world's most used products in history and after getting investors to buy in big time. And people call my points "comical." Geesh.
 
+Petra Breunig I think trust is such a funny word. I would love to know why you don't trust Facebook, though. Seriously.
 
+Robert Scoble in general I greatly enjoy your blogging but these sentences aren't logical -> "Seems like if everyone thinks I'm doing something wrong I'm doing something right." (journalism!=antagonism) "Yeah, Zuck should be removed after building one of the world's most used products in history and after getting investors to buy in big time." (investors want profits not users, Bernie Madoff got lots of investors to buy in big time)
 
+tim peterson sorry, that's wrong. Good journalism pisses people off because there never is one point of view in the world. The fact that you are comparing Zuckerberg, someone who, in eight years, built a company with thousands of employees, almost a billion users, billions of revenues (and decent profits) and an entire industry of companies who depend on its APIs to someone who built a ponzi scheme and ripped off investors makes you just look like a really sad sack of potatoes. And I'm being nice there.
 
+Robert Scoble *Can I choose to only upload my pictures when I'm connected to Wi-Fi?* So I can get the best resolution out of it?
 
+Robert Scoble the evaluation is fb vs. businesses with better business plans. Evaluating personas, zuckerberg vs. madoff vs. mine is your bent but irrelevant.
 
Oddly enough, there is no hole in the locations where I yanked out Facebook - but - competition is good.
 
Now if facebook could just update there app for Galaxy Tablets to display the pictures properly in the news feeds and not cut off half the picture...
 
I have 1.9.9 in Indonesia. No autoupload yet but it's fast enough to enjoy now
 
The FB app got removed from my phone and tablet when they changed the permissions so that it could see my telephone activity - the name and number of any calls that I make or receive.

With that little doozy in place they could update it so that it comes round with steak and beers every time I say I'm a bit peckish but I'm still not reinstalling it.

So doing what the G+ and Dropbox apps (and probably a dozen others) do already, meh.  Not interested.
 
Yeah, I'll just upload to dropbox, I fill up my Google account with so much stuff, I am already paying for storage. I really don't care for any of them to have my pictures unless I want them public. That is actually a good rule, don't put it on Facebook unless you want everyone to know. There is no such thing as privacy, especially if you trust it to a company that you don't pay to keep your information private.
 
"filling in holes" - they've got their work cut out for them. It's a shame their android app is already a bloated sloth.
 
Frank: the Facebook app on the Nexus 7 isn't bad, actually. I think the latest Android makes it better.
 
Robert, does FB resemble a "tablet app" on the Nexus 7 or is it still the phone app, stretched to fill the screen?
 
I have to say, that is a major complaint about the tablet experience.  On my transformer prime, the app wastes so much space. 2 bigger complaints: if it loses connection, the app is useless, no caching or something, and you can not do everything on the tablet that you can do on the phone.  My wife and I both can not figure out how to view a friend's photos on either of our tablets.  You would think photos would be a big part of the tablet experience.  Are you having the same issues?
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