Nokia gets patent for social auto-updates from your smartphone to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Nokia was just awarded a patent for automatic sharing of content from a mobile device to a social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the likes.

This sounds like a very good idea, since uploading stuff to social networks from your smartphone or tablet is often quite cumbersome. The experience is less than ideal, and it seems that most social networks have paid attention just to the experience of uploading stuff from PCs, and almost ignored the mobile side in this regard. Nokia’s patent would allow your device to do the ‘heavy lifting’ for you, automatically uploading stuff to your social networks of choice throughout the day.

Although the imagery associated with the patent clearly indicates Nokia’s desire for this to be used with Symbian S60 smartphones (that’s not a typo – the patent was filed for in 2008!), many of the described embodiments are vague enough to apply to any device or social network. And yes, that’s a drawing of a Symbian S60 ‘home screen’ below – beware.

At first glance, the patent seems to be about significantly extending the Ovi Share functionality that was bundled into many S60 smartphones of yesteryear. Through that, you could share photos and videos with just a couple of clicks or so – and this seems like the natural progression of that system. Nokia even thought about its defunct Ovi Share social network/imaging service as being among the ones you’d be auto-sharing to.

This just comes to show how much the mobile world (and Nokia, in particular) has changed since this patent was filed for in 2008. Back then Nokia was going all-in with its Ovi brand and social strategy. And here we are almost four years later and none of that is around anymore.

Any number of things could trigger the auto-upload in Nokia’s view, such as “a music track change, an image capture, a video capture, accessing a web site, a calendar event, a contact update, a time/date event or a location change”.

The auto-sharing could be easily toggled by the user, via “an input key of the device” or something similar. So, for example, you could have an auto-upload toggle widget (or live tile in Windows Phone), and set that to On prior to recording some video or shooting some pictures (and you’ll then choose at least one service to share to). And at another time when you’re about to capture some photos that you’d like to stay private, you can toggle the auto-upload back Off.

As you can see in the images above, there are many settings too. You can choose the social network to share to, which friend groups within a social network will get to see your content, and there’s even a ‘Private’ setting so what you upload is only accessible to you. You can also decide what type(s) of content you’d like to be auto-shared. And since Nokia doesn’t just limit the reach of this patent to images and video, “a location application, an internet site, a music application, an calendar application or a time/date application” could all act as sources for the automatic uploads.

So you could be auto-sharing music that you’re listening to, websites you’re visiting, locations you’re at, as well as photos and videos immediately after you’ve captured them.

The interesting thing is that this concept is quite similar to what Google has done with the Google+ app for Android. The app allows you to automatically upload every picture and video you capture on your device to Google+. Google+ Instant Upload doesn’t immediately make these files available to other Google+ users, but keeps them in a ‘Private’ place where only you have access to them. Then when you want to share one or more items with other users, all your photos and videos are there, already uploaded, and waiting to be publicized.

Nokia’s view, while incorporating this Private upload feature, takes things a lot further though. Will this be a solid part of the future of social networking on mobile devices? It seems pretty plausible.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Allen Cross

    At first glance, this is a perfect example of the ambitiously vague, greedily overreaching patents which today are causing so much grief in the mobile technology space.