Q: I have a profile set up on Google+, but I'm looking to make updating it as easy as possible so that it doesn't feel like I'm just building another version of a social network I already have. Can I automatically push out my Instagram photos, for example?
A: In this, just the latest of the Google Plus-related hacks that we're bringing to your attention at the Toolkit (we have already taught you how to use Google Plus Nick to get a vanity URL for your profile, how to turn your favorite Google+ profiles into an Atom feed for easy reading and how to copy all of your Facebook photos to a Google+ profile), we're going to teach you how to set up your account so that all of your Instagram photos are automatically shared on the search giant's new social network. Whatever complaints you might have about Google+ (really, another social network?), you almost certainly agree that it's photo-viewing interface is exceptional. And you're already taking those Instagram photos anyway; might as well put them where your friends and followers can see your work.
Syncing your Instagram account with your Google+ profile is a little more difficult than some of the other hacks we've covered here -- there isn't a one-stop browser extension or app you can use (that we know of, anyway). But once you have things set up, the entire process can be automated, as Wired's Charlie Sorrel explained in a lengthy post about how to get the most out of your Instagram account.
First, you'll need to sign up for a Dropbox account. Then, use the Instadrop Web app to connect your Instagram account to your Dropbox account. "Once connected Instadrop will automatically push the photos you take on Instagram into your Dropbox -- in real-time!" the service's website proclaims. Your Instagram photos will get tucked into a folder automatically named, aptly, 'Instagram Photos' Simple. The next step is to download the free Picasa app and, once that installation is complete, navigate to the 'File' menu and select 'Add Folder to Picasa.' Here, as you might have guessed, you'll want to point to your new 'Instagram Photos' folder in your Dropbox account.
You have all of the pieces in place at this point, but to keep your Instagram and Picasa accounts tethered at all times, you'll need to modify your Picasa settings so that it is always watching your Dropbox folder. To do this, open Picasa and go to 'Tools,' then 'Folder Manager.' Here, select the 'Instagram Photos' folder and set Picasa to 'Scan Always.' Once you've done this, find the folder in your Picasa sidebar and select 'Enable Sync' from the drop-down menu. "There's one fly in the ointment here," the Unofficial Apple Weblog warns. "[I]f you want true real-time updating of Picasa/Google+, your Mac has to be up and running continuously."
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