The advent of social media has given rise to many (many!) photo sharing applications: Facebook, Twitpic, Flickr, and Picasa just to name a few. While there are merits to all of these applications, sharing via a smart phone is still pretty cumbersome, especially if you don’t want to post it to a social media site. There are applications like Live Profile, that will help you send photos, or trusty MMS, but there isn’t a great way to share photos as a group of people. This is where CliqueIt comes in.
CliqueIt is a free photo sharing app available for Android 2.1+. Currently in beta, the app allows you to create both public and private communities to share photos with.
I checked out CliqueIt a few months ago in an early beta, but my overall experience then was poor. At times I will be comparing the current experience with my previous one.
Sign Up and Initial Screens
When you first start up the app, you’re taken to the Settings screen, where you input your name. Between starting the app and entering my name, I had to agree to the TOS three times, which I thought was a little odd. Once you’re all signed up, however, you’re ready to start joining and creating cliques.
Cliques are a way to share photos with a group of people. From the above screen, you can see that you have the option to join a public clique, enter an access code to a clique you’ve been invited to, or start your own clique (public or private). You can join multiple cliques, public or private, at the same time, which is an improvement from the last time I used the app.
Once part of a clique, you have the ability to send and receive photos with all of the other members; since members of the group are sending you photos, you cannot see photos previously shared. This was a bit confusing at first since you’d expect the groups’ photos to be in the gallery (which you get to by pressing the envelope icon).
When you create a private clique, the invited members have to put in a code in order to access the group. However, you don’t have access to that code (to change it or to give it out), and inviting members consists of scrolling through all of your contacts and selecting the ones you want to invite. You can also add numbers individually, but only by number, not name. In other words, there’s no way to search through your contacts.
There are two ways to share a photo. The first way is to take a picture with your camera. Simply press the camera icon in the bottom right of the clique’s home screen to bring up your device’s camera, and take a photo. Once you press OK, it will allow you to share the photo.
I’m glad to say they’ve fixed a major bug in an earlier version of the app that would crash the app after taking a photo.
The other way to share is by choosing a photo from your gallery. It looks like it grabs all of the images on your phone, a list that takes some time to populate. The app gets a bit sluggish. If possible, I think the best solution here is to use the native Gallery app.
There are two views for sharing from your gallery: a photo slider that allows you to see larger versions of the photos, and a grid view that allows you to see thumbnails. Uploading either way worked for me, though my expectation for uploading images was a little different from the app’s functionality.
To upload an image, select an image (by scrolling to it in the slider view and pressing it in grid view) and then press the icon in the bottom left to share. I prefer just pressing the image to share; it seems more intuitive to me.
When you receive an image, it goes into your CliqueIt inbox and you get a notification in your Notification bar. You then have the option to accept or decline the photo, which will download or delete it. They changed the icons in this latest version to make download and delete a lot clearer, which is great. There is still no way to turn off notifications in settings (the only option in settings is changing your username).
As I mentioned before, what bothers me about sharing photos, and cliques in general, is that the only photos you see are photos that are shared with you once you join the clique. That means that you don’t see: 1) Previously shared photos, or 2) Photos that you share. I knew that previously shared photos weren’t actually shared with you, but when I joined the public groups, I didn’t think anything was happening until I realized that no photos were technically shared with me yet. It makes public groups look abandoned.
As for not seeing photos that I share, I think this would be a great addition to the app. I view a clique as a centralized place to share photos; it’s not that if you only see what people share with you.
CliqueIt has seen some huge improvements since I last used it. The UX is a little more intuitive, the camera functionality works now, and you can join more than one clique at a time. The app is certainly useable now, and still a great idea. I’m impressed with the progress the dev team made since the last time I used the app.
That being said, there are still some issues I have with the UX (like not being able to search the contacts) and the app still gets sluggish and crashes sometimes. The app is definitely worth checking out, but hopefully these issues will be fixed in the near future.