Do you use one app to check multiple services?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| July 5, 2012

Over the years, we have been given the opportunity to cut back on the number of devices we carry at any given moment, all courtesy of consolidation. Our favorite manufacturers do their best to cram as much stuff into our devices, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or some other mobile device that grabs our attention, so that it isn’t absolutely necessary to carry around a bag full of different devices. Not out of absolute necessity, anyway. Most of us still carry multiple objects in our bags, from laptops, phones, tablets and cameras, but for the general consumer most (if not all) of those things can be handled by one device.

Consolidation can go a long way. I’ve asked in the past whether or not you’re someone who has condensed their number of devices, and I was kind of shocked at the answers. They were certainly mixed. I was expecting more people to have removed the multiple device format from their lives, especially considering how advanced some of these devices really are. But, there are so many of you out there who prefer to carry a camera, no matter the situation. Or a dedicated music player (I completely understand where you’re coming from).

Whatever the case, not everyone has chosen to condense their number of devices. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But what about applications?

I’m not someone who can brag about the number of apps on my phone. Truthfully, I just don’t use a lot of them. Yes, it is true that I am sometimes (okay, quite often) guilty of buying applications just to buy them, but they rarely find a permanent space on my phone. I’m very particular about what takes up space on my limited amount of memory on my phone, after all.

Which is why I’m not surprised that, without even realizing it, I’ve condensed the number of apps I use, in favor of utilizing apps that access other apps or services I might use from an independent application. I wasn’t really paying any attention to it, actually. When I download a new app, going through the set-up process is usually the first step (if the app calls for that sort of thing). In some cases, signing into other services is part of the process, and I do it without even thinking about it. It’s almost second nature now, I think. We like to be connected, and most of us have specific ways to do that.

I noticed it earlier today when I downloaded Flipboard (probably for the umpteenth time now), and went into the Settings to log into my accounts. I started making my way through other services, like Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Google+, and adding them into the main stream. Now, together with general news outlets, I’ve got my social networking sites tied to the whole show. Basically, since Flipboard is so nice, I don’t actually even need applications for Google+, Facebook or Twitter on my phone.

The obvious reason why you’d still need applications for those services is pretty clear: notifications. Flipboard may make Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn look interesting, but it won’t let you know that someone is interacting with you through them. But, you get the idea.

And then there’s Path. Path is the social networking tool that I prefer, because it looks so nice and it has a focus on mobile. When I finish a post on Path, or picture or check-in, and I have the option to post that update to other services, I usually always do it. Twitter and Tumblr always. I rarely include Facebook, though. I have included it in the past, and there will probably be a time when I start updating through Path exclusively, letting the Facebook app just let me know when I have notifications.

I’ve come to grips that I consolidate applications, but I can’t really put a finger on the reason why I do it. The apps that I’m consolidating, one way or another, aren’t huge apps. It’s not if I download Facebook, Tweetbot, or Google+ that my phone is going to run out of memory because they take up so much space. And, with the exception of Facebook more often than not, these apps aren’t troublesome to use. But I consolidate more often than not, and given the opportunity to bring in multiple services into one application is something that I actively try to do with any new app (or old, for that matter) that finds its way onto my phone.

So I’m curious, have you consolidated your apps? Whether it’s news, social networks, or whatever else it could be, have you chosen to update everywhere through one app, instead of several? And if so, tell me why. I’m very interested in the why. And if you haven’t decided to go this route yet, I want to know why you’ve chosen to update or look at services individually, rather than in one central place.