That's a Photo Sphere I took at Pensacola Beach yesterday afternoon on the Samsung Galaxy S5 using the Google camera app that's available in Google Play. Why use Google's camera and not Samsung's? For the simple reason we pointed out weeks ago — Samsung's app doesn't have it built in, so you have to download it separately. From Samsung's app store. And I have no idea what my Samsung username or password is.
Google Play, on the other hand, is readily available. In the time it would have taken me to dig up my Samsung credentials in 1Password, I'd already downloaded and began shooting with Google's camera app. That's an argument for Samsung to use some sort of single sign-on method as much as anything else. In fact, it's to the point that if you don't use some sort of SSO — as in you sign in with your Google or Facebook or Twitter credentials — you're doing it wrong.
And implementation matters, too. We've got SSO here with our Mobile Nations Passport, which lets you have a single log-in for all of our Mobile Nations sites, but we need to implement it a little better, particular with the Google log-in in our apps, so that all you have to do is choose the proper account, and not re-enter your credentials.
And then's the matter of data sync. So many games still fail to properly employ this. They might share your scores on Google Play Games, but that's it. And that's no good. For an example of how it should be done, turn no further than Monument Valley. Sign in to Google in the game, and it syncs your progress across all your devices. Simply put, that's the way it should work.
Circling back around to the Google camera app, though. I'm all for getting what traditionally would be system-level apps into Google Play. The problem, however, is that you end up with two camera apps. Google has to do something to improve the picker when you've got more than one app for an action. Displaying the package name certainly isn't good user experience. Let's hope that Samsung addresses this with an update.
A few other thoughts on the week that was ...
- I'm stoked to finally have advertising in the Android Central Podcast. (And in a few of our other Mobile Nations shows.)
- For a good time, go back and listen to Episode 1 with myself and Mickey Papillon. Can't believe that was four year ago. (And Mickey's excellent Cell Phone Junkie Podcast has passed 400 shows. It's definitely worth a listen if you've not do so before.)
- Some interesting discussion last week regarding ads in the Gmail app Promotions tab. It bothers some folks. Others, not so much.
- I'd added the Promotions tab back just to test all that. Surprisingly, I think it's going to stick around, at least for my personal Gmail account.
- I want an HTC One M8 in the size of the HTC One Mini 2. That is all.
- I've been on the Galaxy S5 full-time for a week now. Gorgeous display. Animations still feel a little slow (but maybe that's on purpose?), not to be confused with "lag," though. So much software I still don't use. And the carrier bloat is beyond decency.
- Will we ever see Sony in the U.S.?
- For as good as that Photo Sphere turned out above (and that was the first one I'd tried with Google's app), I think HTC's implementation of the process is still the best.
- If you're using the Android Central App or any of the other Mobile Nations Android apps, be sure to pick up last week's update. It had some important fixes.
- Two days after we released that update, 53 percent of users have installed it.
That's it for this week, folks. See y'all Monday. I'm going back to the beach.