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Screenshot tour: JustPictures is an awesome photo app with powerful web integration

Android's built-in image browser, 'Gallery', isn't fantastic. By default it displays a load of tiny, unwieldy and laggy thumbnails. While you can strongarm it into behaving better, why bother when excellent alternatives like JustPictures are available?

From the outset, JustPictures replicates the built-in Android app -- but it's faster, prettier, and less fiddly. You are presented with a simple view of the folders on your phone's memory card -- click through to each one, flip through the images within, zoom -- but it doesn't stop there. JustPictures lets you connect to social networks and photo sharing sites.

It's utterly sensible, if you think about it. There might have been a time when we kept a lot of photos on our phone, but today we keep an insane amount of photos on Facebook and Flickr. It's the ability to grab photos from the Internet that makes JustPictures a killer app -- but read on to find out about its plethora of other neat features!

First, a complete list of all the Internet services JustPictures can bond with: Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug and Photobucket. You can either enjoy 'anonymous' access, which brings all of the publicly-accessible photos to your phone, or you can authenticate to get access to your own private photos.

Once you've hooked up an account (or two, or three), browsing your online photos is simple -- it's just like browsing photos stored on your phone! I dare say this isn't an app for those of you that pay for 3G data transfer. You can even set up automatic 'notifications' that will flag albums that have been updated (you'll probably want to set that to Wi-Fi only in the settings).

The photo browsing itself is pleasant (and highly configurable). You can flick up and down, or click a thumbnail to zoom in. If present, the EXIF data is shown -- but sadly, image tags (or Facebook name tags) aren't displayed. From an individual image you can either flick left and right, or set that image as your phone's wallpaper -- or simply start a slideshow of that album. If you're using JustPictures with Android 2.1 or later you can enable some 'live wallpaper' thing, but I wasn't able to test that with my cheap and cheerful LG.

Finally, you can either save an online photo to your phone's memory card, or simply set it as a 'favourite' for easier access. From the look of the settings menu, every photo you browse is cached on the phone, so once you sync with your various online accounts, you're safe to browse your photos at any time (and incur no further data transfer costs!)

JustPictures is a fantastic app for just about any user of social networks -- or indeed, anyone that's ever taken a photo. But for me, as a photographer, JustPictures is simply essential. The ability to have my up-to-date portfolio with me at all times is invaluable -- and to have that functionality made available to me by a free and open source app... well, that's just damn cool.

JustPictures Tech Specs
  • Installed Size -- 900KB (not including the image cache)
  • Speed/Responsiveness -- Fast, no lag (Android 1.6 @ 600MHz, LG GT540 Swift)
  • User Interface -- Good, intuitive; some small text might be hard to read
  • Configurability & Extensibility -- Plenty of display options, but no way to add other photo sharing services
  • License -- Free, open source
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Tags: android, app, browse, imaging, justpictures, open source, OpenSource, photo, slideshow, social networks, SocialNetworks, wallpaper