Facebook rolls out photo sync feature

Facebook announced Friday that it is introducing a feature that brings the social network — ever so slightly — into the world of cloud storage.

According to a company blog post, Facebook users can have their smartphones sync with a private folder on their profiles. From there, they can choose the photos they want to post with their larger network.

Photos are a central part of Facebook’s network, particularly after the company’s high-profile acquisition of Instagram.

Users will be able to enable the feature by tapping the “Sync” button at the bottom of the “Photos” menu in Facebook’s mobile application. On a personal computer, any smartphone photos will appear in the photo album called “Synced from Phone” at the top of the photos section, the company said. Users can enter the folder from their smartphone or computer to select and delete photos.

Facebook has made some considerations for mobile users who are watching their data consumption. On cellular networks, Facebook will sync photos at a smaller size than they would on a computer. Users can also choose to only use WiFi networks for the feature.

Photos will not sync, Facebook said, if your smartphone is running low on battery.

Smartphone users will be able to turn the feature off from their phones, as well. The option will not be open to feature phones, which connect to the Internet but are not smartphones and cannot get apps from Apple or Google.

The addition is similar to one on Google+, where users can elect to upload all phone photos to the network and choose which snaps to share.

On the iPhone the Facebook photo sync will be available only to iOS 6 users. Facebook is also making it available on its Android app.

The photo sync is being rolled out now in an early version.

(The Washington Post Co.’s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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