capsule review

Panoramio Uploader

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Panoramio Uploader

    PCWorld Rating

Panoramio Uploader is a simple app that integrates with the native Gallery app to upload photos to Google's Panoramio from your phone. The Web-based photo-hosting service places an emphasis on geolocation; it can read the EXIF data in an image file, and if the file contains GPS coordinates (photos you take with your Android phone are tagged in this way if you enable the feature in Settings), Panoramio Uploader automatically places the image on a map. You can also manually specify the image's geolocation if the file doesn't contain GPS data.

Purchased by Google a few years ago and integrated with Google Accounts, Panoramio also has a neat feature that lets users submit their geotagged photos to be part of the Panoramio layer in Google Earth.

After you install the app from the Market, you may be confused because you won't see a shortcut for it in the app launcher. Instead, to use the Panoramio Uploader you must first open the Gallery app. Select a photo, then click the Share icon (a V-shaped double arrow). You'll see Panoramio as one of the options in the Share menu. Select it, and the Uploader will launch.

The Uploader will ask you which Google Account you want to use for Panoramio. Be forewarned that Panoramio does not work properly with Google Apps accounts. The Uploader, though, will still allow you to select a Google Apps account, and even upload photos--but you will never be able to login to Panoramio via the Web. I tried in vain to log in with my Apps account, finally gave up, and switched to a standard Gmail account--which worked. What a hassle!

You only have to select an account once, but you can switch to another account later if you wish (via the Menu key).

Once you select your Google Account, the next screen will show a map preview with a red pushpin where Panoramio thinks your photo was taken. You can change the location by tapping a different spot on the screen and navigate by dragging the map. You can also enter text for a photo caption. When you are done, click the Upload button. You can watch your upload's progress, or leave it running in the background while you select another photo or run another app (you can return to the upload from the Notifications area).

One limitation of the app is that it has no way to multiselect photos. That's too bad--it would save a lot of time if you could upload all at once a batch of photos taken at the same location. It won't take long before you become frustrated with the slow pace of multiple uploads.

The accuracy of the photo geolocation also varies a lot. Sometimes it is spot-on, and sometimes it is way off. I'm not sure if this is a device issue, a Camera app issue, or a Panoramio issue. It's a good thing you can manually readjust the location before uploading (and afterward, in a desktop browser).

A couple of annoying glitches also occur frequently. Sometimes the app will upload multiple copies of the same image. And sometimes an upload will fail. Although the app automatically retries after 5 minutes (you can also manually retry), it seems as though an image sometimes just won't upload. A couple of times, I had to clear the queue and start over in order to succeed.

More troubling, Panoramio also introduced artifacts (glitches) into several uploaded photos, whereas the originals did not have them. This is definitely the worst bug I encountered when using the app. I recommend checking each uploaded photo to see if it looks good.

Despite these flaws, Panoramio Uploader stands out as the only way to upload photos directly from your phone to Panoramio, so far as I am aware. (If you know of another app that can do this, please e-mail me, or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.)

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Panoramio Uploader

    PCWorld Rating
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.