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Thursday, 29 September 2011


Some weeks ago, buoyed up with minutes of research under my belt and a recommendation from a friend I ditched my old phone and invested in a shiny new Android powered Samsung Galaxy S2. From there my relationship with my phone has been a happy one, I've very much enjoyed getting to know it and the Social Media apps I can run on it and we've had some fun times together. I'm typing this blog on the Google Blogger App and until now everything has been rosy in the garden.

So what's changed?

Afew weeks before I got my phone I joined Google + and at some point whilst exploring the Android Marketplace I happened upon the Google + App which I installed and almost forgot about along with Google +. Imagine my shock, when logging onto Google + with a purpose for the first time in weeks, to find a copy of every single photo I had taken and stored on my phone, probably since installing the app, also residing in Google +.

Don't get me wrong .. the photos themselves remained private to me and hadn't been shared but I feel really aggrieved that Google by default enabled an option which allowed the Google + app to upload copies of my photos without explicitly asking me.

There are two issues for me here, one of privacy and trust and one of my phones data plan.

Privacy and Trust
I guess it was probably in the Terms & Conditions somewhere to allow Google to do this and the images weren't displayed in my circles but nevertheless they are mine and I will decide where I upload them to be it for backup, storage or display. Organisations must be aware that not only are the words and images of the people who write and capture them their property but may also be deeply personal to the individual who may  not want them shared on any platform no matter how 'private' that platform may be.

Data Plan
Those who know my home city of Bristol will be very aware of the 60ish statues of Gorillas which adorned the city to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Bristol Zoo and it became the summer time challenge of many to visit as many of the Gorillas as possible and have your photo taken with them.

I had been struggling to work out how I was going through so much data on my data plan so imagine my shock when I found copies of dozens of hi-res photos from my Gorilla trail and other adventures on Google +.

It's No Suprise Then .... my view is that Google should NOT be enabling this function called 'Instant Upload' by default. Luckily it can be turned off by doing the following:

Start your Google + for Android App then perform Menu -> Settings and un-check  'Instant Upload'.


  1. I had one incident of this on my iPhone with holiday images uploaded to TwitPic. It hasn't happened since but I still have no idea how it happened. Was seriously shocked and glad nothing risqué in my collection!

    Ann Patey

  2. Ouch. It just goes to show that if we wish to protect our data, in whatever form, we really need to do the laborious step of checking terms, conditions and default settings. We cannot rely on corporations. They will always act in their best interests, not in ours.

  3. Hi Jennifer and Ann. Thanks so much for your comments. It does go to show that you cant trust corporations to act in the individuals best interest, after all, they have their own to look after although I would have thought they should have a 'duty of care' to inform the user. And you can rarely legislate for technical or user error.

  4. Even though the Instant Upload feature is enabled by default. Mine was defaulted to only upload when connected via wifi.