Technologizer

Bump’s Newest Trick: Phone-to-PC Photo Sharing

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Bump

Bump is a clever little free app that lets you exchange photos and contacts between two devices instantly and effortlessly by simply bumping them together. Until now, the two devices in question have probably been Android or iPhone smartphones. But today, the app is adding a new feature that’s even more joyously imaginative than the ones it already has: the ability to send photos from a phone to a nearby Windows PC or Mac, no configuration or accounts required.

How do you do it? You bump, of course. In this case, you start by selecting the photos you want to transfer in the Bump iOS or Android app, and then pointing your computer’s browser at bu.mp. And then you tap the phone on the computer’s spacebar. (Yes, it feels goofy when you do it.) After a confirmation that you want to make the connection…boom! The pictures that were on the phone suddenly appear in your browser.

As with previous forms of bumping, it feels like magic — or at least like something which must involve Bluetooth or peer-to-peer wi-fi. It doesn’t. Actually, the phone and PC don’t even need to be on the same network. Bump is using geolocation, the phone’s motion sensor, and the timing of the bump to figure out that it’s your phone bumping your computer at a given moment in time. And then it routes the photos off the phone, over the Internet and onto the right computer. The only thing you need to do is get the knack for bumping properly. (It occasionally doesn’t work if you’re too soft, too forceful or otherwise off the mark.)

Once the photos are in your browser, you can drag them into an app or onto the desktop, or download all of them. There are also some very basic photo-sharing features which let you give friends access to your snapshots via Facebook or a short URL.

In theory, a bevy of existing services, from iCloud to Dropbox, should have already eliminated the need for all this. In reality, Bump is so quick and painless that it makes everything else look overcomplicated. I confess that I sometimes email photos to myself to get them off a phone and onto a laptop; from now on, I’ll be bumping ‘em.