Sharing intents on Android

Sharing intents

Android’s sharing is a framework, apps can decide if they can share certain types of data and also receive certain types of data. So for example when you select a photo from the gallery and click share you can see all the apps that can take a photo and do something with it. For example posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or sending it via SMS or to Photoshop for Android to be able to edit it.

It’s nice to be able to share a photo to any app, or share links to any app which is currently not possible in iOS. I can share links to friends via email or any messaging app or to Pocket for later reading. It’s a breeze.

Android sharing intents means that apps don’t have to talk specifically develop sharing buttons to specific apps. It’s a lot easier for them.

This is a very good way to allow the Android OS to let apps feel integrated with each other and not disconnected silos that they are in iOS. This implementation also exists in the new Windows 8 as charms and it’s same concept.

This blog post set me off the other day, when I initially read the title I thought wow Facebook has done some kind of clever integration between Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Instead it seems that Facebook Messenger just included the extra folder that Instagram saves their images to when posting from the app. This is because iOS apps are basically siloed.


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