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Social media has been a fundamental part of life on the Internet since before the rise of the tablet, therefore being one of the natural categories of apps on such devices. As no one wants to sever all their social connections just because they’ve decided to jump onto their tablet, in this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best social apps available for your Android tablet.

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Whether you are an indecisive person, or someone who is very forthright in expressing what you would like to do, or how you think things should be done, there are times when it makes sense to gauge opinion and get input from other people.

From deciding where you should go for dinner, to choosing between two different holiday destinations, Deci is a free app for Android users that makes it easy to canvass opinion and hold a quick poll.

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Everyone loves sharing and looking at photos. That’s why social networking sites are so hard to stay away from — that’s why Facebook bought Instagram and Google+’s latest app design places such high emphasis on photos.

If you find yourself catching up with friends and families’ photos on a daily basis – or stalking your favorite celebrities through theirs – Pixable will let you get the job done in half the time.
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When Facebook bought Instagram last month for the cool price of $1 billion, my Twitter feed showed nothing else for about six hours after the announcement. It was big news, especially seeing as it was the biggest acquisition Facebook had ever made. It also caused instant chatter in the tech world, including those jokes (“Why did Zuckerberg pay $1 billion for Instagram when he could have downloaded it for free?”) which raised a slight chuckle the first time you read them but started to grate slightly when every third person was retweeting them.

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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a bunch of these new sites called ‘social networks’ have been cropping up all over the place and they seem pretty popular. Social networks, of course, allow us to share some or all facets of our lives with our friends, our family, and the general public. While the vast majority of social networks are web-based, a lot of them come with accompanying Android apps. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones (as well as a few niche networks).

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It has been a big couple of weeks for Instagram. It launched on Android to a very warm reception – over five million downloads in six days - secured $50 million in funding, and then was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion (yes, with a B). That’s a lot of goings ons for a free app that just recently went multi-platform and isn’t even in its terrible twos.

But no matter what you think of the acquisition itself, there’s no denying that a lot can, and probably will, change for Instagram and its community over the coming months. Here I’m going to speculate a bit on what those changes may be.

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We’ve all heard about Last.fm‘s music scrobbling service. Whenever you listen to a track – whether on the site, on your computer’s MP3 player, or even on your phone – the details immediately get uploaded to your profile on Last.fm. We now see more and more audio/video companies that try and implement this; even Facebook is getting into it with its new “real-time serendipity”.

Is this a new trend, or will people complain about how social sites are getting more and more involved in our personal lives?

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People have fairly strong opinions about Facebook Places and checking in on Facebook. As a college professor that teaches primarily freshmen, I’ve had discussions with my classes about how they feel about it, and it’s received a fairly negative reception from them. I personally feel it’s best used for special events: a baseball game, a concert, cool places you visit on vacation. While I’m not the type of guy who checks in everywhere, there are quite a few people who do, and who use the service frequently. If you’re one of those people, Smart Places might just be the app for you. (more…)

Last week, Facebook hosted their latest F8 Developers Conference, where they showed off a bunch of changes they were planning to make and that they had made recently. If you use Facebook, you’ve seen some of these already (most likely, your News Feed was briefly full of people complaining about them), like the Ticker at the top-right of the News Feed and the blue triangle on the corners of posts Facebook thinks you will like.

A bigger change that has slowly been rolling out (I believe today is the big official launch) is Timeline, which replaces your profile with a scrapbook of your whole Facebook life: photos, wall posts, graduations, and whatever other information you’ve let Facebook know.

What you may be less aware of is Facebook’s new Open Graph apps. Have you tried Foodspotting for Android? When you’re out at a restaurant, you take a photo of whatever you order, write a short description or give it a rating, and upload it to the Foodspotting database via the app. The hook is that other people can see what dishes are actually available at the local places to eat by doing a location-based search – but that’s not relevant here.

See, you can also share a photo to Facebook. Not a big deal; you’ve seen that before. Most apps (particularly photo apps) have a Share button, which ties in to all your other sharing apps, like Twitter and Google+. At the moment, when you share the photo, it just gets posted to your wall with a “via Foodspotting” tag. But Facebook’s vision for this is larger.

Soon (already, actually), with your permission, apps will be able to share this data with Facebook automatically; whenever you take a picture of your meal using Foodspotting, it’ll go into the Facebook database. Maybe it won’t be posted to your wall, but your friends will be able to view everything you’ve snapped via a box on your profileTimeline.

More interestingly, it’ll look out for “real-time serendipity”: if a friend goes to the same restaurant a few days later, it’ll let you know, and post that fact to the News Feed (“Fred and Joanna both ate at Wagamama’s this week”). Imagine this scaled to all your apps: the books you read on Google Books, the music you listen to on Spotify, the blogs you visit with your RSS reader… all shared with Facebook, so it can look for trends with your friends.

Some find this creepy. What do you think?

With three major social networks out there now (Google+, Facebook, and Twitter), I find myself explaining the difference between Facebook and the others more often than ever. How Twitter is best for real time sharing en masse; how Facebook focuses on personal relationships; and how Google+ allows you to create small communities out of the people you know for “know your audience”-style sharing.

Since Google+ entered the ring, Facebook has been feeling the pressure to step its game up. They launched video chat with Skype from within Facebook, no extras needed. Most recently, they’ve launched Facebook Messenger, an app that makes it easy to communicate with Facebook (and non-Facebook) friends to really build those personal relationships.

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