iPad Apps: Best App for Friend Photo Browsing

Q: I'm an iPad owner that is overwhelmed by the number of applications available. Where should I start if I'm looking for a way to utilize the iPad's screen for browsing through photos?

4580482081_1f16f94234.jpgFLICKPAD

Free lite version | $4.99 | Version: 2.1.3 | Shacked

This one's for those of us who travel in photo-happy circles. We've gotten a taste of what the iPad can do with loads of pictures (Exhibit A: the Photos app and its nifty stack-of-pix and scrolling grid layouts). Now we want the same treatment for those other two big sources of picture plenty: Facebook and Flickr. Flickpad is a special-purpose viewing, sharing, and commenting tool. Its name reveals its main method: you "flick" photos on and off a screenwide lightbox. Especially when you're flooded with new pix, the app's review-and-release system (you flick viewed photos offscreen and a replacement from the same album instantly appears) is not just efficient, but also great fun.

PICK & PRESERVE: The app's calendar-based approach (you can view this week's haul, last week's, or move day by day) is great for catching up on photo-viewing chores you've had to put aside for things like, you know, work. Save the gems you like best to a Flickpad favorite album and email any pic you like to anyone, even if they're not a member of one of these networks (yep, still a few of 'em out there).

TONS O' TOOLS: Other treats: double-tap any picture to see the full album it belongs to; hide friends whose photos you don't want to see; and, in the Flickr icon, tap Explore to see a greatest hits selection -- sorta like a tour through your friends' best pix ... if your friends were all pro photographers.

HONORABLE MENTION: QUBICAL

$0.99 | Version: 1.0 | Aleryon

Half the fun of Facebook comes from the photos your pals share. But unless you're on full-time news feed patrol, it's easy to miss the latest pix. And even the ones you do see show up in that boring "click Previous, click Next" layout. This app stakes its future on a pretty distinct bet: photo browsing's more fun when pictures get laid out like tiles on a twirlable 3D cube. And you know what? As you exit the Land of Lists and feast your eyes and fingers on the app's photo-filled cube, the temptations to tap, to pinch, to -- whoa, there, fella ... these are your friends -- well, let's leave it at this: Qubical's a fun way to browse.

CUBE CONTROL: Grab the cube by tapping and holding anywhere onscreen (not just on the cube itself) and pivot it by moving your finger. Shrink or enlarge the box by pinching or spreading. For your autorotating pleasure, tap the arrow-around-the-pole icon. The app's also got Facebook's commenting hooks built in, so you can add comments.

PICTURE POWER: Double-tap any friend whose photos you want to see an then head to the Albums icon. Here's where you can roll through whatever photo collections your buds have broadcast. See something you like and wanna view it, uh, normally? Just tap the picture for a regular shot frozen in plain ol' 2D space across your screen.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Excerpted from Peter Meyers' Best iPad Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders. Copyright 2010 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Read more Atlantic Technology Channel book excerpts.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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