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July 20, 2012

Android vs iOS Sharing





Fred Wilson just published an interesting post about sharing on Android. It piqued my interest so I've decided to contrast his thoughts with sharing on iOS. The first screenshot displays some of the sharing options when sharing a webpage on Android. The second screenshot shows what is seen when performing the same action on iOS, within mobile Safari. Having the ability to share to multiple social networks is a cool feature to have, but is it really needed? If I wanted to send a friend a link to an article would I ideally want to send it via Skype or iMessage? I mostly share links via the Tweet button and email when using Safari. Looking at both screen shots, options to tweet the webpage, add to my reading list, print and bookmark are far more realistic and use-case friendly options than sending to all the social networks available on an Android device (Fred's last share on Google+ was in Oct. 2011). Twitter was baked into iOS when v5 rolled out last Fall. Facebook will be baked into iOS 6 when it becomes available in this Fall. Correct me if I'm wrong, but these two platforms are the front runners in the social network space the last time I checked. My guess is that Tumblr will be next in line since it's rapidly becoming a juggernaut in social, mainly because of it's simplicity and visual appeal to blogging--I see it as the future of blogging. But its kind of a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter so we'll see what happens. 


The third screen shot are the options you see when you want to share a photo. Again, the options provided are more in line with how one would want to share a photo: message it, Tweet, use it as a wallpaper, email and soon Facebook. I don't think integrating every single app into iOS for easy sharing is the way to go. Apps-talking-to-apps is more of a necessity in my view than having several apps integrate with the OS. Already, when i'm editing a photo in Camera+ or Snapseed, I'm given the choice to share to Flickr, Instragram, Facebook etc. I do a lot of my mobile reading in Instapaper, and I can effortlessly share the article to my Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. Sharing options need to be app-specific, and should cater to the obvious use-cases. The fact that it'll be nice to have a sharing option to iMessage (or any other messaging app)  from mobile safari doesn't mean its really needed. You can copy the link and paste it just as easy. The contrast between sharing in Android and iOS goes more to show you about how the design process works in both OSes. Don't flood the user with choices of where to share their content--only the ones that make natural sense--on demand.


Sorry Fred, I'm still sticking with the iPhone. 

6 comments:

  1. I am an Apple user as well for now. I agree that it covers my 80%, and that is often "good enough", but I'm really hoping they increase the capabilities in iOS 6.something!

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  2. For sure! Apple integrating Facebook into iOS is great. Plus looking at some of the 200 features in the new OS makes me know it's worth waiting for. I'll put up my thoughts once I get my hands on it.

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  3. "Looking at both screen shots, options to tweet the webpage, add to my reading list, print and bookmark are far more realistic and use-case friendly options than sending to all the social networks available on an Android device"


    Fred mentioned that his list is scrollable, and he just showed you what was on page 1. The fact that he didn't show you "add to reading list" doesn't mean it isn't there.


    "Facebook will be baked into iOS 6 when it becomes available in this Fall... My guess is that Tumblr will be next in line since it's rapidly becoming a juggernaut in social"


    Okay, but what if you want to share to Facebook now? What if Tumblr isn't next in line. Just be content that Apple knows best when you should be sharing to what service? Android users have been sharing directly to those services for a long time now.


    "Already, when i'm editing a photo in Camera+ or Snapseed, I'm given the choice to share to Flickr, Instragram, Facebook etc."


    What if you're not in those apps? If you find an image while in Safari and want to share an image via one of those services? My whole family is using Kik now. Should Apple decide when we can easliy share to that app?


    Nothing wrong with Apple products: You choose to be limited to you can get an experience which is overall more secure, polished, and stable. However, you give up capability, including some very useful capability, in order to get that Apple experience.

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  4. It seems that the hot new social networks can pop up out of nowhere (i.e. Pinterest), so the advantage Android has in this case is that you don't have to wait for an OS update to have that option.


    That said, value is always relative to the user and not all of us feel compelled to use what's new and hot, and value the more controlled experience the iOS often provides. I see cases for both depending on the user.

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  5. Thanks for the comment, Ryan. I agree it's user-dependent, and sometimes you have to shield the user from being inundated with choices. :-)
    Sent from Ed's iPhone

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  6. You make valid points, especially about finding an image in Safari and wanting to share immediately. Albeit, you are able to share the link to that image via native twitter and Facebook integrations. At the end of the day, it's user-specific. That's what all the Android vs iOS boils down to. iOS users may feel "content" however, things work well for us. I wrote a post on Apple allowing users to do more when screen shots are taken--don't know if the options I'm looking for are available on Android? http://www.edwardagyeman.com/2012/08/rethinking-screen-shots-on-iphone.html

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