According to some tipsters, Facebook is testing ways to bring automatic photo uploads to iOS—without incurring the wrath of Apple in the process—just like they have on Android devices. Privacy concerns? Oh heck yeah. More importantly, however, this would push Facebook to the front of the pack of photo sharing sites by a country mile. Something Yahoo! should be worried about.
I use automatic uploads from my iPads and iPhone to Dropbox all the time. It’s an essential part of my blogging workflow. Take screenshot or picture, tap Dropbox, let it upload, put into post. Simple and easy. This is completely different. This is letting Facebook pull all your pictures into a private, protected album automatically in the background for you. Just like Android users currently enjoy:
It’s not just for Android anymore. Facebook has figured out how to enable background auto-uploads and is now testing Photo Sync with a few iOS users. A tipster got us a screenshot and Facebook confirms iOS Photo Sync is a continuation of its two-month old test for Android. It could box out Google+ Instant Uploads and get people to share more photos — Facebook’s lifeblood. Here’s how Facebook Photo Sync works, at least for those lucky enough to be in the test. You go to the Photos app in the Facebook For iOS app’s sidebar navigation or the photos section of your Timeline and scroll to the bottom. There you may find an option to check out Photo Sync and then enable it, as seen in this photo sent in by tipster YoloFahad (an Instagrammer-extraordinaire).
And why this is important, also from TechCrunch:
Right now, between the 300 million images uploaded every day and its acquisition of Instagram, Facebook is winning the photo race by a mile. If it rolls out Photo Sync to all iOS and Android users and it catches on, it’ll take an Olympic miracle for anyone to catch up.
The process sound devilishly simple (choice of words, on purpose). So simple I think that we’re going to see a whole new crop of people’s private photos leaking into the public realm. Not only will gaffs occur, but I’m positive Facebook’s protections won’t be perfect from the get go. As my friend Gillian Shaw at the Vancouver Sun says: “Don’t put something on the Internet that you wouldn’t want posted on the front page of the paper.”…so caution is going to be key. I’m sure that lots of folks are going to turn this functionality on right off. I won’t be one of them. Too often I’m taking screenshots of embargoed things or, heck, I just don’t need everyone seeing me goof around with new camera app (usually it’s a shot from my spot on the couch towards the TV). Not to mention having to clean out that private album…no thanks.
Privacy isn’t the only concern. Or rather, we aren’t the only ones who should be concerned. Once the darling of photo junkies like me, Yahoo!’s Flickr isn’t doing so well of late. It’s not in the news. It hasn’t had a new feature in…heck I don’t know when. And when my Flickr Pro subscription expired last month, yeah I didn’t rush to renew it (I still haven’t). Flickr is truly getting marginalized and while Facebook isn’t a great photo discovery engine (I find a lot of great photos here on Flickr—advanced search FTW), it’s where millions and millions of photos are. Automatic uploads will just make it easy for people to say, well I post all my pictures on Facebook, I don’t need anything else. Frankly, for most people, they would be right. Why bother with anything else?
I’m not saying Flickr is done for, but Marissa Mayer should be very, very worried about Flickr.
You can read it all about photo sync for yourself on Facebook.