HaxSync – Android Facebook Sync
People in Android
With Android 4.0 Google is taking a step in the right direction updating the contact manager into the new and improved “People” app. The biggest change is a set of APIs that integrates Android with social networks. This is important as you can then let your contacts maintain their own contact information, and you will then always have updated information available on your phone.
The second change is the most visuale one, as the user interface has also been completely revamped and viewing contacts has now become a much more visual experience. The People app will pull high resolution images of all your contacts straight from their Google+ account and display them in the contact list and in the in-call background. It seems that there is now yet another incentive to move your social circle over to Google+.
According to the API Overview of ICS when a new photo is pushed to a contact, “the system processes it into both a 96×96 thumbnail (as it has previously) and a 256×256 “display photo” that’s stored in a new file-based photo store”. Your contacts information is now also available to you no matter which app you are in. So, if you are in Gmail, viewing an email from your contact, you can click on their image to reply to the contact through any available channel, including through SMS, social networks and IM.
The first time I saw the new app demoed I went WOW, but when I got the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone in my hands I went BAH! It is great to get your contacts to update information about themselves through their social profiles. But, why did Google have to limit the pull of high resolution images from Google+. Why doesn’t Google Contacts (the address book for Gmail) support high resolution images? Do you have friends actively using Google+? I don’t… So untill yesterday I had blurry pictures covering half of the screen when I ever was using People on my phone. A 96x96px thumbnail for incoming calls wasn’t pretty on incoming calls, and reminded me more of a C64 game.
A third improvement in People is that you can see your contact’s last updates on social networks, both Google+ and Twitter are supported out of the box. So what about Facebook, Google’s biggest competitor? Luckily, Google has made a plugin architecture available and there is already a third party solution available for you!
HaxSync – The Missing Facebook Integration
I have found an application that more or less solve my problem. HaxSync allows you to sync your Facebook friends with your Android 4.0 device. The sync is complete, with both status-updates and high resolution contact images in the People App! I bought the app within seconds and most of my contacts are now shown with beautiful high resolution images. But Google should integrate their services better ways…
How to configure HaxSync
- Install the official Facebook App.
- Go to System Settings → Accounts & Sync (Android Settings, not Facebook App Settings).
- Click “Add Account” → HaxSync.
- Click “Authorize HaxSync”.
- Confirm Authorization
- Wait for HaxSync to finish syncing.
- You should now see your Facebook contacts in the Android People app.