Viewdle SocialCamera Review: Turn Your Android Phone Into Facebook Camera
At a Glance
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Update as of 5/13/11: When we first tested the app, it did not work on the Motorola Atrix. Viewdle has since fixed this problem.
What good is a picture if you can't share it? Well, you probably don't want to share every picture on your phone's camera, but the SocialCamera app for Android sure makes sharing on Facebook easy. SocialCamera is a relatively simple application that uses incredibly advanced facial recognition technology that tags your photos as you take them. SocialCamera is still in beta so there are a few quirks here and there within the app, but hopefully these will be fixed soon.
First things first: before you download SocialCamera, make sure you know the specs of your phone. If you don't have a 1GHz processor and running Android 2.0 or higher, don't bother downloading the app. Yes, this is a bit annoying for those of us with older phones, but understandable given the technology behind the app.
The app is quite simple. When you open it up, you're presented with two options: Take a picture or choose one from your photo roll. Wherever you choose to take your picture, you then have the option to tag it by simply tapping on that person's face. If it is your first time using the app, a list of all of your Facebook contacts will come up. You'll have to identify your friend from your Facebook friend list; if you aren't friends with them, you can't tag them.
The more you tag your friends, the quicker SocialCamera will learn which faces belong with which names. SocialCamera is powered by Viewdle's algorithm, which creates a "faceprint" of captured and saved frames of your buddies'. When you tag somebody, the app will remember your friend's face so when you take the next picture, it will automatically tag them. The more you tag, the smarter the app gets. You can't tag people you aren't Facebook friends with, which is probably for the best because that's just a bit creepy.
You'll also see a touchwheel with options to share your photo via Facebook, Flickr, e-mail or MMS. While I like the touchwheel's simple aesthetic, I found it way too sensitive for my liking. It was really hard to select which social network you want to share with.
Picasa users might be disappointed to learn that there's no support for Google's photo tool in SocialCamera. I also wish that the app had Twitter integration because I tend to share more pics over Twitter than Facebook (and I'm sure others prefer to as well). Viewdle says that Twitter integration is coming soon.
I liked that Viewdle kept the straight Android camera interface and didn't try to stick a watered down version of it in the app. If you can use your phone's camera, you can operate SocialCamera. That sort of simplicity is welcome in an app. I recommend SocialCamera to anyone who takes a lot of pictures (of people!) with their phone and wants an easier way of sharing them.
For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.