May 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM ET
Bump, a photo-sharing app and longtime Apple App Store all-star, just took its flavor of seamless swapping to the next level. The app, which has been around since the mobile dark ages of 2009, was originally conceived as a way to trade contact information with a literal "bump." In February, its creators launched Bump 3.0, a pared-down twist on the classic app that highlights the services its users were using most, namely the ability to swap pictures by tapping their phones together. Now, Bump has expanded a step further toward seamless sharing, and today the app adds the ability to "bump" photos from your smartphone straight to your computer.
We spoke with Bump co-founder and CEO Dave Lieb about the app's clever (and eminently useful) new direction.
"We want to solve real problems that people have," Lieb said. And sharing photos between all of our devices should be simpler. Syncing services can be a disaster when it comes to cross-platform compatibility, but Bump forgoes the awkward process of getting your gadgets to play nice, since it only requires the app and a browser. "There really should be no limits. We want to make it so you never email yourself a photo again."
In Bump 3.0, available now both both Android and iOS, you can select the photos you'd like to share (or save) by tapping. If you're familiar with Bump, the next part won't seem too unusual, but if you aren't, then you're in for something of a technological treat. When you've got the photos you want to beam elsewhere selected on your smartphone, you'll point your computer's Web browser to bu.mp.com and literally tap your phone against your computer's spacebar.
We're still pretty convinced this process operates via magic (the creators seem to acknowledge this, since you get a message reading "These photos were magically transferred using Bump" once you're done). But rather than using NFC technology (which requires a special chip) like MasterCard and Google are pioneering, Bump weaves together an array of geo and sensor data from your devices in order to pin down which two are trying to get cozy.
The result is a truly effortless sharing experience that's among the most elegantly designed apps we've ever seen. Our only stumbling block in sharing to our computer, or between our HTC One X and an iPhone 4S, was that we weren't actually bumping the phone against the spacebar (or the unsuspecting other phone) hard enough, so don't be shy about that.
The vibration that arises out of the minor gadget collision activates the phone's built-in accelerometer, which then triggers the app's servers to pair your devices. Once you've got your photos bumped over to your computer, you can then download them locally, generate a Web link for them, or share them to Facebook, though they just appear as truncated links rather than full Instagram-esque images.
Bump is both a clever parlor trick of an app and a surprisingly handy tool for cross-platform photo sharing — and with the newest feature, it's more useful than ever. Download Bump now to get in on the full-contact (okay, maybe it's more like two-hand touch) photo sharing... and liberate all of those photos of your cat at long last.
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