Facebook starts rolling out automatic photo-syncing on Android

If you have Facebook’s latest Android app you may be able sync images shot with your smartphone as you nab them.

Facebook has started rolling out, on a limited basis, a feature for its Android app that will ship photos taken with your handset to a private area on Facebook where you can later choose to share them or not.

To see if the feature has been installed on your phone, open your Facebook Android app and go to your Timeline. Tap photos. If the sync feature has been enabled on your phone, you’ll see Sync at the bottom of the photo section. The option is only in testing for Google’s mobile operating system; iOS users still, for the moment, have to upload their images manually.

You’ll also have to activate synchronization at your online account by clicking “Synced From Phone” at the top of the photo section of your Facebook page. Up to 2GB of synced photos can be stored privately at your Facebook account.

Synced pics stored privately on your Facebook account can be shared on your Timeline or through a private message to your friends on the social network. If you don’t choose to share a photo, it will remain in your private area, unseen by any eyes but your own.

Photos synced from your smartphone can be deleted from the phone or your online account. Deleting a photo from the sync section of your phone, however, doesn’t remove it from your Android gallery.

By default, photos from a phone are synced as soon as you shoot them, but the feature can be customized. You can limit syncing to Wi-Fi only or turn it off completely.

When syncing on cell phone networks, photos will be automatically resized to around 100KB to reduce the amount of data consumed. Syncing over Wi-Fi will send the larger versions of the photos to Facebook instead.

Facebook is getting to the sync party a little late: other services like Google+ and Dropbox have had auto-syncing in their mobile apps since February.

Google+, though, only offers 1GB of storage for photos and videos sent to the cloud through its Instant Upload feature. However, if you have a Picasa account with Google and limit photo sizes to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos to under 15 minutes, there are virtually no storage limits.

Dropbox has a photo upload storage limit of 3GB. That’s in addition to whatever limits you may have on your standard Dropbox account.

It’s not uncommon for Facebook to roll out features on a limited basis to work out the kinks in them or test user reaction. Sometimes the features stick. Sometimes they don’t.

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