AVG Android Social Apps

AVG LogoToday’s Android apps from AVG are aimed at social media users rather than performance junkies whose needs were covered yesterday. AVG has two apps in this space, Image Shrink & Share, and Privacy Fix. Very different apps themselves but both are worth a look..

AVG Image Shrink & Share works on the premise that the average smartphone camera takes photographs which are unnecessarily large for social media purposes. Most people can’t be bothered to downsize the photos and risk incurring bandwidth charges by uploading the large photos anyway. Image Shrink & Share solves this problem by resizing photos on the fly before passing them onto the relevant social networking app. The original photo is not affected and stays on your phone or tablet.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you want to share a photo on Facebook. You review the photo in Gallery or Photos as normal. Hit the share icon and choose AVG Image Shrinker instead of the app you would normally use (it’s on the left in the screen shot which is from the new Photos app which has a different layout and background).

AVG Shrink & Share Apps Onward Sharing Apps

Then you are prompted for the final app that you want to use to post the photo, say, Facebook or Google+. Image Shrink & Share resizes the photo based on your default selection and then passes it on to the social media app (or other app) for comment and posting.

You can setup the default size for each application individually in the Settings menu. If you turn an app off, it doesn’t show in the second list presented by Shrink & Share, so it’s a useful way to declutter your sharing screen as well.

Social Media App wpid-Screenshot_2013-11-11-18-53-01.png

In practice, I found that it worked very well and solves the problem very neatly. Images resized correctly and looked good. If I had one suggestion, it would be to have a native resolution option on the resize settings so that photos can be passed through without alteration. I know that it’s not strictly necessary as I can simply choose to share directly to the app, but it makes the process consistent.

Overall, if you post lots of photographs to social media sites, this is a must-have app. Personally I’ve found it handy for uploading images to WordPress as it has a 2 MB limit on photos, so AVG’s tool gets round that problem for me.

Moving on, AVG PrivacyFix is less about sharing and more about controlling your exposure on Facebook and Google+. It’s a complementary app to the PrivacyFix website which covers LinkedIn too, but the app currently only looks at Facebook and Google+. It’s simply a case of giving the app access to your accounts after which PrivacyFix will make some comments and recommendations.

PrivacyFix Start

Here are the recommendations PrivacyFix gave me for Facebook and Google+.

PrivacyFix Facebook PrivacyFix Google+

You can tap through each and PrivacyFix will give you some information on the impact of changing the option and if you wish to proceed, show you what was done. Here’s some info on turning off Search History and then the output from opting out of ad tracking.

PrivacyFix Implications PrivacyFix Ad Tracking

AVG PrivacyFix is another great app. It’s certainly not one that you are going to use everyday, but it’s definitely worth running every month or so to check that your exposure on social media is at an acceptable level. Clearly you can use the PrivacyFix website to cover LinkedIn, but I hope AVG extend the Android app to cover LinkedIn and perhaps others such as Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, etc. I also think that this would be a great tool for parents to check the privacy settings on their children’s accounts and that’s a feature that AVG ought to promote directly within the app and website.

Both Shrink & Share and PrivacyFix are free apps, so go ahead, download them from Google Play and try them out.

NeroKwik: All Your Devices Photos Together

NeroKwikNeroKwik is a way to organize and share your pictures between your various devices and online services. It will work on no matter which platform each device is on. The photos show up as a tapestry. You can set it to a random view, a social view or a view by rating. If you rate your photos then in the rating view the higher the rating the bigger the photo will appear. You can also connect your Facebook account.and the more a photo is liked on Facebook the larger it will appear in the social tapestry. You can easily create a tapestry and share that tapestry with friends and then automatically see which ones they favorite. Those they favor will appear larger.

The app is available in the Google Play Store and should be available soon in iTunes and on the Windows Phones Market.  Two devices and as many online services that NeroKwik supports is free. They are releasing a premium version later in the year. If you have more than two devices the cost will be $2–4 a month plus you will be able to connect to the pictures on your computer and add videos. NeroKwik does not store your pictures. The pictures stay on the original device and are just shared to the other devices.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network, and Daniel J Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast

PlayPlay

Shazam, Now Works with TV Shows

ShazamShazam the music recognition app has been updated to also recognize TV shows . I was trying it out today and it still needs some work. It didn’t recognize many of the shows that I was watching. It either gave back no information or incorrect information. There were times when it took multiple tries before it came back with the correct information.

I wasn’t surprise when it didn’t recognize Bleach, my favorite anime show. However, I was surprised when it didn’t recognize a Rock documentary on Rush. Not surprisingly it recognized most network programing, however it had trouble recognizing the show Major Crimes which is a new series on TNT this afternoon. This evening though it did recognize it, so the database appears to be improving all the time.

Once the show is recognized  it will show the songs that are played on the show. You can play samples of the music. If you are a Spotify premium member you can play the whole song. You can also view the song on Youtube if it is available. You can also view the lyrics, get tour information and buy ringtones. You can also read the latest celebrity buzz, get the cast information, read the latest Tweets. If you are using it on an iOS device you can share to Facebook or Twitter. If you are on Android you can share thru any app that you have, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus

IntoNow, a Yahoo product recognized more shows than Shazam, however once a show was recognized, Shazam had more options available. Get Glue the other media sharing app, is just that a way to share what you are watching. It doesn’t have the information that is available through either Shazam or IntoNow. Shazam needs to improve its recognition of non network shows. However it is on the right path and I do recommend downloading it if you like to share what you are watching to your favorite social network.

Jolicloud Launches Public Profiles

Cloud storage hub Jolicloud today announced the launch of their new Public Profiles for users.  If you aren’t familiar with Jolicloud, it’s a service that grabs all of your various data from different social services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, and Tumblr and places the data into neat files in one single location that users can then easily scan.  For instance, you’ll find all of the photos you posted on different networks all grouped together in a convenient Photos folder.  The same for music, links, videos, and documents.

The new Public Profiles allows users to more easily share content with friends straight from Jolicloud.  Users can invite and follow friends and give them access to your media stored there.  Jolicloud only shares the data users have made public.  The new update is for both the web and iOS versions, but they hinted that Android would be coming next week, possibly with even more features.  Their official annoucement stated, “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about Jolicloud over the last few weeks, and now we’ve decided to bring some of the most requested features to you with an update to our iPhone and web apps.”  They went on to hint that, “Rumors among robots mention a major event for next week.  But you know, those are only rumors..”

Jolicloud is still officially in beta, but the service is stable and so far seems secure.  It’s also free to use, and there are mobile apps for both iOS and Android.  You can get a view of the main screen below.

Spotify and Facebook

SpotifyI have a Spotify Unlimited subscription which I created as soon as Spotify became available in the U.S. If I am not listening to Podcast or watching something I am listening to music on Spotify. I also have a Facebook account, mostly to keep up with my family and friends from high school and college. Occasionally if there is a song I really like or it triggers a memory I share it to Facebook, along with Twitter and Google Plus With the new Facebook update if you connect your Spotify account to Facebook, every song that you play is shared to it. There are several other music applications that also work this way, including IHeartRadio, Earbit, Rdio, Slacker Earbit and Songza.

I connected my Spotify account and it works. If you have your Facebook account open to your profile and you are listening to a song, that song will appear as you are listening to it. I connected my Spotify account to Facebook for a couple of days and then decided that my friends really didn’t need or want to know every song I listened to. Plus because I have music playing in the background and I like to try new playlist from ShareMyPlaylist I may not even like the song that is playing.  I am just doing some exploring to find new songs, artists and bands. One solution would be to disconnect Spotify from Facebook entirely, but I don’t want to do that.  I could see using the information later to set up playlist. I just want to have more control on what I share and when I share it. My solution to this has been to go into app settings in Facebook and click on edit and then go to custom settings and set the share to only me.  I hope this will work when the new Facebook changes go public. I want to use Facebook to collect the information, but only share the songs I want to. I wish there was a way to be able to share specific genre to specific groups, For example if I am listening to jazz music then I only want to share that with friends who like jazz and not those who like rap.

I am also not happy with the way apps are being integrated and dependent on Facebook. For example if you want to sign up for Spotify now you must have a Facebook account. To me this is a case of putting all your eggs in one basket. Granted Facebook is a big basket. However not everyone wants to have a Facebook account for various reasons including privacy concerns. Spotify has now cut itself off from these potential users. Plus it means as a user the more the apps I use are integrated into Facebook the harder it is to leave. I have already been through the walled-garden era with AOL, I really don’t want to go back.

Tweaking Google Latitude With Latify

Tweaking Google Latitude With Latify

Google Latitude is a nifty, fun add-on utility for Google Maps that can be very useful for tracking friends and family. With Latitude, it’s possible to share real-time location information from devices such as supported Android and iOS phones and tablets. Location sharing is by permission only – any mutual Latitude friends must specifically grant permission for location information to be shared.

I’ve been making use of Latitude for a few years. I’ve got a number of friends and relatives that follow my location as I travel around the country as an over-the-road truck driver. Even after all this time, I’m still surprised that some people are curious enough about my location that some of them will check on me multiple times a day.

One of the things I’ve long wished for in Latitude is much greater control over the sharing. Most of the time I want my shared location information to be as accurate and real-time as possible. Thus, it becomes possible for Latitude friends and family to track me as I drive down the road in real-time.

Recently I purchased a $2.89 program available in the Android Marketplace called Latify. The Latify program works in conjunction with Latitude to provide a lot of extra control over Latitude and its sharing capabilities.

With Latify set to push out the most accurate, real-time location information possible it does use more battery power, as it is making more intensive use of the phone’s GPS chip. This isn’t a problem for me, since most of the time I keep the phone plugged in when I’m in my truck. In those instances when the phone is going to be running on battery power for hours on end, I turn off automatic data synching. There are also a number of power-saving options available within Latify itself.

If you want a way to share the most accurate, real-time GPS location of your phone with Latitude friends, at $2.89 Latify is worth the money.

CloudApp and Cloud2Go

Cloud2GoYou are writing a post and you want to add an image, audio or video file, one way to do that is to link to the to the file URL. What do you do though if the file you want to use is on your desktop, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. One solution is to use CloudApp which is available through the Mac app store and the corresponding mobile app called Cloud2go, which is $2.99 and available through the mobile app store. Although it is not optimized for the iPad you can use the iPhone version.  I use it along with WritingKit to write my blog post. What ever version you use whether desk top or mobile they both require an account with the CloudApp Website.

The way it works on the desk top is you simply drag the file from where it is up to the cloud which sits in the menu bar. The cloud will light up and you will hear a dinging sound that tells you the upload was successful.  You can change the sound and add a Growl notification through preferences. The file is then uploaded to your CloudApp Web site. All drops are automatically private, until you link to them. The URL is then automatically created and added to your Mac clipboard. If you are using the mobile app, you simply click on the plus button and add then add the file you want. You add an image or video from your library or text from the clipboard. Once the file is added, again the URL is automatically created and ready to be added to your post.

If you have a free account you are limited to 10 uploads a day and a single upload can’t be more than 25 mb. A pro account is currently $45.00 a year. With a pro account you have unlimited uploads and a single upload can be up to 250 mb. You also get your own domain to share your links. CloudApp is not intended to be used as a storage like Dropbox, it is intended to store things you are sharing links to. I am very happy with CloudApp and Cloud2go and use them all the time

Get the +1 Lowdown from Google Themselves

If you are wondering about implementing the new Google +1 button on your website, but worried about the proper way to do it, then you may want to free up your calendar next week.  Google has announced they will be holding a special, open-to-the-public webinar on Tuesday 21st at 3pm ET.  This should go a long way towards clearing up some of the misconceptions and unknowns about exactly what +1 can and can’t do for a web site.  For instance, there is a lot of speculation about +1 being a boon for SEO by raising the search ranking of pages.  But, Google can be very particular and very unforgiving about how their apps are displayed on sites – often banning users from Adsense for unknown reasons.

Google claims they will answer such questions as “how do you make sure this experience is user friendly? Where should you position the +1 button? How do you make sure the correct URL is getting +1’d?” The webinar will be conducted by Google Developer Advocate Timothy Jordan.  He will cover “technical implementation details as well as best practices to ensure the button has maximum impact.”

You will need to register for the event, which you can do here.

If you don’t, or can’t, attend then you can find some good information on +1 embedding code over at this unofficial Google blog.  If you just want automatic imtegration of +1 along with other sharing buttons like Twitter and Facebook, among others, then check out Socialize plugin for WordPress, which has already done an excellent integration of +1.

Put the Google +1 Button on your Website

If you have a website then you are almost certainly interested in drumming up visitors and generating interest – what’s usually referred to as SEO.  Many sites use buttons on the home page and on individual posts to prompt readers to “like” the article on Facebook, “tweet” it on Twitter, or share it is some other way such as Digg or Reddit.

Now there’s a new player on the viral sharing block – the Google +1 button.  Google announced this several months ago and webmasters have been waiting for the opportunity to add it to their sites.  Given that Google is THE top player in the SEO game, this one has been very highly anticipated because of the potential traffic that may come along with it.

The wait ended yesterday when Google sent out the following email to everyone who signed up for the notification list.

Hi there,

You asked to be notified when the +1 button code was available, and today’s the day!

The +1 button makes it easy for visitors to recommend your pages to friends and contacts exactly when their advice is most useful — on Google search. As a result, you could get more and better qualified site traffic.

You’ll need to add a small snippet of code on the pages where you want a +1 button to appear. Ready to get started?

***CODE INSERTED HERE***

To stay current on updates to the +1 button large and small, please sign up for the Google Publisher Button Announce Group.

If you have questions when adding the code, check out the Google Webmasters Help Center. Thanks for your interest!

Sincerely,
The Google Webmaster Central & +1 button teams

Already I have seen the button popping up on various websites.  This could be a huge traffic boon for many sites, since clicks on the +1 button seem to lead directly to better Google search rankings.

Plizy Another Way to View Videos on Your iPad


If you like to watch online videos on your iPad but are tired of trying to find ones that interest you, then Plizy maybe what you are looking for. It is a site created by CEO Jonathan Benassaya who has been an important part of the French Tech scene for quite awhile. It allows you to view videos from those you are following on Twitter and Facebook. If you hit the Add a channel button, you will see a list of various categories, from Animation to Travel. Each category has a list of sites within it. Click on the site you are interested in and it is added to your collection. Right now Plizy is connected to Revision 3, Vimeo, YouTube and DailyMotion. Each site you add becomes another square. If you connect Facebook or Twitter, they each become a separate square.  As new videos are added to a site your collection will update. If there is a new video a blue dot will appear under the that collection.  Clicking on the heart next to a video will save it as a favorite. As you like more videos, Plizy learns your preferences and starts to recommend videos based on them and who you follow on Twitter and Facebook.  You can share the videos out to Facebook and Twitter. You can also comment and like directly on the application. If you are in portrait mode and click on the conversations icon you can follow the conversation under the video without having to leave the application.

Right now Plizy is in invite only private beta. I like Plizy, but there are a few things I would like to see added or change before it goes public. I wish there was a way to reorganize the channels by moving the squares around. Unfortunately Plizy is not Air Play enabled, which is something that needs to be added before it goes public. Hopefully they will be adding other sites to their collection like Blip.tv. Plizy is entering a competitive and growing field. Showyou and Squrl are two other application that I have tried that are similar to Plizy. They aggregate videos from various sites, so you can watch them within a single application. Plizy ability to curate and personalize your video collection based on your preferences will be what separates it from its competitors.

Update (18:11 on 5/30/11) I have been informed that you can move the tiles around by clicking and holding on  them and then moving them or thru the edit button.  Also Blip.TV is one of the video sites that Plizy does gather from now.  Finally Plizy is now in public not private beta.