Sunday, January 6, 2013

Controlled Sharing = #FAIL #iPad Apps That Stink at Sharing

Earlier this weekend I wrote that there are apps that absolutely drive me crazy on the iPad. It's not that the apps aren't any good but that they appear to go out of their way to disable sharing EXCEPT through their own interfaces. Simply, they try to lock you into their networks. Others, however, allow you to share anywhere. Illustrated examples of both appear below.

Really? Is this what you're going to try to do? This approach to controlled sharing = FAIL right from the starting gate and simply means I'll be using another system or app that makes sharing simple. Some of the apps that try to control your sharing include the following:

  1. Facebook - Try to share out of Facebook and you end up only being able to share to Facebook. I have to copy a link or open in Safari FIRST, then copy the link, then go to an app that enables sharing. Come on, Facebook. We know you're evil and trying to monetize, but wouldn't it make more sense to enable sharing a link to Facebook where the original link is available? Let me share that link anywhere and to whatever app or location I want.
  2. Google Plus - In the fight for my sharing soul, Google Plus makes sharing a pain. It only allows sharing to 3 places, including Safari browser, Chrome browser on the iPad, or Copy Link. Again, What's the point in sharing to two apps that don't do a great job in the sharing department? Essentially, I'm stuck in the Google Plus ecosystem, which as rich as it is, doesn't make sharing to the world possible. My suggestion for G+ developers is the same as the one for Facebook. Let me share a link that points people back to the original link hosted/framed in G+ and make it possible for me to share with the world.
Pictures of failed controlled sharing:

Here we start out with Google Plus and I decide I want to share Harold Shaw's posting of "Trying is Not Enough - A Veteran Runnah." My goal is to drop it into Evernote's Fitness Notebook which will end up shared via Facebook. By sharing it with Evernote, I'm able to keep track of it and not lose it in Facebook's timeline which scrolls and eventually all content gets lost in over time.

Problem is, I only have these 3 options...come on, why make it so hard, Google Plus?
If you go to Safari browser or Chrome, the options are limited for sharing. Simply, you can share to G+ in Chrome or, if in Safari, you can...not do much.
Here's what Facebook sharing looks like:
As you can see from the two immediate screenshots above, Facebook limits one to sharing via Facebook or anemic Sharing options.

Successful Examples of App Sharing

On the contrary, here are two apps that make sharing a joy and don't try to lock one into their ecosystem. Of course, I'm referring to Pocket and Apollo Internet browser on the iPad. Both are free tools that know how to place nicely with others.

The Apollo browser has a plethora of sharing approaches:

And, if you copy the link, you can open see things appear in Pocket...notice the green bar tha allows you to add a copied link to appears at the bottom of the screen:

Once you've added the URL to Pocket, then you have a host of other sharing options:

Why can't other apps--like Facebook, GooglePlus, Safari--offer these options for sharing without the need for an intermediary app like Apollo or Pocket? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to incorporate these features?

Let's go, programmers! I know it's Winter Break and all, but SHARING IS HUMAN. Don't let your technology get in the way of that!




Urko Masse said...

Let me see if I get this right...
My understanding is that on the iPad, each app needs to actively develop ways to share to other apps.
So the Pocket developers have had to actively go out of their way to find out how to share to all those services.
You are criticizing Facebook and Google+, but to me, the best example would be Safari.
If the Apple sharing framework is any good, it should be the Apple developers that should make their software show it off in its greatest incarnation.
And they... don't.
Mmmm... I wonder why.

Mr. RCollins said...

I'm pretty sure each developer does not have to develop ways to share with other apps, they can tie into the url schemes already present in the apps.

Anyway, I've added my personal Evernote email to my contacts, so as long as I can share to email, I'm good to go.

The Courage to Lead