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.

Single sign-onGoogle 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.

Camera picker

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.


Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: Photo Sphere and single sign-on


I'd Sony comes to the US, I might just go with them. If the LG G3 fits in my hand though, then I will probably go with that.

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Enjoy your beach while us in Atlanta go through a nice bit of thunderstorms and rain. I think I will still drive to the gym today though.

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I think HTC's Pan360 is the easiest and fastest; I like that it shows how much you've done and how many you have to do total; but, when taking a Photosphere in the exact same location with HTC's and Google Camera, Google's has far better picture quality. It's really kind of odd how big a difference I've gotten between them.

The stitching on that is excellent! I don't really see any artifacts, even on the bar area! What quality setting is that?

The default setting on my Nexus is "High" and I had to change it to "Maximum" to use the new 50MP limit, I would assume it's the same on all

I've had the promotions tab since the beginning. The only ad I've ever seen is the delta upgrade one.... And only when I have an upcoming flight.

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LastPass fills in my password automatically and with the S5, I can swipe my finger now to download anything from Samsung. Pretty simple really.

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This is what I've been looking for! I got msecure because it says it has auto login but I didn't realise it meant you had to use the "msecure" browser that you get to from within the msecure app

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Phil says: "Displaying the package name certainly isn't good user experience. Let's hope that's addressed in the next major update to Android."

If I remember correctly, that is jsut poor programming. In the manifest you can add the application tag and then in there throw in 'android:label="@string/app_name"' and that should display the friendly name instead of the package name. Maybe I am wrong since it has been awhile since I had to program an app....but I am pretty sure that does it.


Very nice photosphere. Love the full screen pop-out capability.

I enjoy showing my relatives and friends what they can do with their "smartphones". Photosphere and panoramic images are one of my favorites as people always seem incredulous that their phones can do that and that they didn't know about it. A smartphone becomes smart with a curious and adventurous person operating it ;-0

Why are you suing 1Password when Lastpass will now auto-populate id and passwords on Android? I can't say enough about how Lastpass has allowed me to use sites I wouldn't otherwise bother with because of unique logon credentials.

LastPass was attractive for Android until it was installed and turned out to be another browser. I want Chrome (beta), with LastPass functionality, not another browser choice.

I had the same disappointment as you, but they added that capability a few months ago, for Chrome (not sure about Chrome beta) It's not flawless for every app, but generally helpful.

What will you do Phil if/when the GPe S5 comes out? Same for the S5 Prime (non-GPe/TouchWiz)? I've experimented with an International N7000 OG Note replacing the original 4.1.2 JB TouchWiz ROM with both CarbonROM and now OmniROM and to be honest if had a current TouchWiz-enabled Samsung phone/tablet I'd flash something else. I can see why Google is moving forwards with Android Silver and Android Wear to counter TouchWiz/UX and Tizen respectively.

problem with your statement is that you are not on a current TW rom, your a bit behind. I am stock on my Note 3, and on my Note tablet and it really seems as there is a big difference between the two, even though they are only a few months behind each other. The one you are using is "ancient" in the tech world.

Not really defending, just pointing it out. Tizen is no threat either...not yet anyway

No doubt on fast current hardware TW/Sense is more responsive. But for me personally, being used to Nexus hardware in particular, the idea of software overlays such as TouchWiz/Sense isn't appealing. For your average non-tech consumer, TW/Sense isn't an issue performance-wise but I prefer my Android gear to be as close to stock as possible "bare-against-the-metal" as it were. Again, Android Silver to me seems to be Google's counter to TW/Sense overlays. As to Tizen, well I suppose we'll see how Samsung in particular reacts to this with the Gear line to start.

I fully understand your position, mostly since I am the exact opposite. I like all the bells and whistles that TW offers, and miss some of them when I get to play with all the other flagship phones. I guess I just like to have stuff like that installed instead of having to go searching for an app on GP

Fair play to you too as well. If one is a TW/Sense fan because of the additional software built-in to take advantage of certain hardware features and, with your Note 3 in particular, I'm thinking say SPen or Multiwindow or Airview so be it. Earlier in the post I had mentioned watching the forthcoming OnePlus One and Google Phoneblok modular phone concept release because as a performance-hardware enthusiast that's what appeals to me. Some people just want their Android stuff to just work and aren't concerned about hardware/software performance. To each their own.

To be honest, a S5 with TouchWiz simply doesn't interest me. A GPe S5 does, and a GPe S5 Prime even more so. I'm closely watching what happens with the OnePlus One's eventual release and, down the line, the Google/Phonebloks modular phone concept.

EDIT: this is in reply to Phil's comment to my OP.

I do enjoy the single sign on option,, use my g+ account for most non important things,, would like to see it further implemented into more app/account types

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The app picker looks fine on Nexus (of course not used for the camera app, since the stock app is replaced), so it must be Samsung that hasn't figured this package name ambiguity thing out, not Google.

No that is a programming thing, not just an OEM thing. I explained upthread what needs to be done.

But it doesn't happen on the Nexus 5 (using those two apps — AOSP camera and "Nexus" camera) or any other apps.

It's not an Android thing. It's someone who messed with the code in the intents system to automagically make apps installed from their app store the default.

When i get my tester phones from work I am not really allowed to do apps from anywhere, so your saying that does not happen on HTC or LG or anyone? If true then that is a screw up -- again -- on Samsungs part.

I couldn't agree more with you, Phil, about having an HTC One M8 the size of the HTC One Mini 2. I hate it how OEMs tend to cripple the mini versions compared to the flagships. They're missing out on a huge market of people that want phones with screens between 4 and 5 inches. (Also, I think Apple's iPhone 6 is going to be especially successful because now some people that get Android phones because of the available larger screens may now get the iPhone.)

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I’ve been browsing online from more time, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content blog and article as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

"I want an HTC One M8 in the size of the HTC One Mini 2. That is all."

Me too, Phil. Me too! I'll probably be holding on to my Moto X longer than I thought since flaagships are growing about 5.2"+. 4.7" is the sweet spot. I can live with 5" if I have to.

Did I read this correctly, Sony doesn't sell phones in the U.S?

Well they are nice phones but the Android software push out is just terrible.

Was this taken at the margaritaville? I've never been behind it. Haha I live in pensacola and was so surprised to see that the picture was taken here.