Sync Android photos: 2 simple solutions

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Sync Android Photos

Android and syncing go hand in hand. From your first power-up, Android automatically syncs your email, contacts, and calendar. Grab Google Music and your tunes are in-sync (though hopefully not 'N Sync); Google Docs and Google Reader give you Android syncing for files and news. But what about photos?

Syncing Android photos lets you keep a copy of your images somewhere other than on your device. Whether it's for backup, personal storage, or sharing, this can have some pretty significant benefits.

Android photo-syncing isn't built into the operating system by default, but fear not: With a few minutes of simple setup, you can have your Android photos automatically backed up as you take 'em. Here are two excellent options.

Sync Android Photos -- Option #1: SugarSync

  • Cost: free up to 5GB of data
  • Setup time: 3-5 minutes
  • Use if: you want your photos synced to the cloud and to your PC(s); you want your photos synced in their original resolution for your own personal storage; you want to sync other files in addition to photos
Sync Android Photos: SugarSync

SugarSync is a cloud storage solution with some powerful Android syncing features. With SugarSync on your phone, any photo you take will automatically be uploaded to a private storage space that only you can access on SugarSync's servers; depending on your preferences, this can happen either on the fly, as photos are taken, or at regular set intervals during the day. 

But wait, there's more: With the SugarSync program on your PC, any photos taken on your phone will instantly and automatically be downloaded to your computer, too. So you end up having your images on your phone, on your PC, and in SugarSync's online storage center -- meaning no matter what happens to any of your devices, you always have a safe copy somewhere. The sync also works both ways, so if you delete a file from the SugarSync program on your PC, it'll be deleted from your phone as well. The process is seamless, painless, and secure.

The other cool thing about SugarSync is that it can do much more than photos: If you want, you can set the service up to sync specific folders on your phone -- ones with your documents, for example, or downloaded files -- in the same manner. That effectively gives you an unlimited of common shared folders for whatever data you want to keep synced up. You can even install the program on multiple PCs, if you want to bring additional systems into the mix.

SugarSync requires a free account; you can sign up within the app itself or at SugarSync's website. The company offers pay-based plans if you need more than 5GB of storage space, but if you can work within the 5GB limit, you won't have to pay a dime.

• Download: SugarSync Android app; SugarSync desktop program

Sync Android Photos -- Option #2: Google+

  • Cost: free, unlimited storage
  • Setup time: 1-3 minutes
  • Use if: you want your photos synced to the cloud; you want an easy way to share your photos with friends and family; you don't mind having your photos resized when they're synced
Sync Android Photos: Google Plus

Google's new social network, Google+, has an integrated Android photo syncing solution of its own. All you have to do is enable the "Instant Upload" option in the Google+ Android app, and every photo you take on your phone will instantly be uploaded into the Google+ service.

Sound scary? The G+ photo uploading isn't as revealing as it may seem: Your phone's photos all go into a private album on Google+ that only you can see. Photos are only shared if/when you explicitly select to share them with specific people or circles within your Google+ network; nothing is public by default.

The Google+ Android sync feature handles videos as well as images. There's just one catch: Any photo larger than 2048-by-2048 pixels will automatically be resized when it's uploaded. For videos, you're limited to 15 minutes per clip. In other words, this syncing service is designed for sharing -- not necessarily for your own personal storage, where you'd probably want the unmodified high-res versions of your files.

Android Power Twitter

Google+ requires a free account; the service is technically still in a limited field trial mode, though, so you do need an invitation to get in. That said, it isn't terribly difficult to get your hands on an invite right now (if you need one, let me know -- just head over to this thread on my Facebook page -- and I'm happy to hook you up).

• Download: Google+ Android app

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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