19 Comments

Summary:

Facebook for Android sees an update tonight, gaining some of the iPhone’s client look and feel, but also adds a draggable Notifications drawer, Events and a new photo reel showing pictures and videos from friends. Could Android’s growth be spurring updates for the Facebook client?

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Facebook for Android  got a long overdue update tonight (perhaps the final push was Mark Zuckerberg’s installing the Android app himself last week?), after playing second fiddle to the iOS version for far too long. The updated app gains some of the iPhone’s client look and feel, but also adds a draggable Notifications drawer and a new photo reel showing pictures and videos from friends.

The new client for Android supports more actions from the main screen. You can now respond to friend requests in the app, for example. There’s also a one-touch button to post a status update, support for Events — including RSVP in the app — and the new photo reel along the bottom. A Facebook spokesperson told me via email that the new client now supports in-app video playback that uses H.264 encoding, although I haven’t tried videos just yet. None of my friends are camera-happy today, it seems.

Android device owners that already have Facebook installed will see an update in the Android Market now. There’s still room for improvement here — I’m thinking support for Facebook chat and contact groups — but overall, the overhaul is welcome. And the Notification shade is a nice play on the native Android notifications, allowing Facebook users to be informed, but not overwhelmed with new information from their friends. After missing the fuller-featured app when I moved from iOS to Android in January, I’m ecstatic that I now have a richer Facebook experience — consider that a warning to all of my Facebook friends that I’ll be annoying them far more often now.

Many of the updates seem designed to keep users in the application longer. That’s not a bad thing — I personally prefer to stay in apps instead of bouncing out to the web for related features. Though like other Facebook mobile products, the new Android client doesn’t yet have ads, Android’s massive growing user base combined with increased engagement could make a killer platform for mobile revenue opportunities.

 

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  1. on my nexus one, facebook was pre-installed so it doesn’t show up as an app previously downloaded in the marketplace. do i delete the ‘native’ facebook app and download the facebook app from the marketplace to get this update?

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    1. Can you even find Facebook in the app manager to delete it? I can’t.

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      1. i can’t either!

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    2. You should be able to do a search in the market for Facebook. It should then show up with the ability to update.

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      1. Thanks…

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    3. Just search for (and install) “Facebook for Android” on the Market. It seems to replace the N1’s preinstalled FB app.

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    4. yeah .. iphone is doomed now lol

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  2. It’s kind of hard to play second fiddle to an app that barely gets updated. Facebook has ignored the iPad platform and there haven’t been any new features (merely bug fixes) since Joe Hewitt left the project.

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  3. This update is awesome!

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  4. pistol: You should be able to download the facebook app without uninstalling the native one..

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  5. You don’t have to uninstall it, just find Facebook on the Market and install over the top.

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  6. [...] application is free. [Lifehacker and Gigaom] Tagged:androidandroid [...]

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  7. Sorry guys, I’m on a HTC Magic (Android “Cupcake” 1.6) and there’s no such “Facebook for Android” app. There’s a “Facebook App” and a “Facebook Pro” by The App Factory, “Facebook Touch”, “Facebook Plus” and many other by 3rd party — but no “Facebook for Android” by Facebook.

    Is it because I am currently in France or running Cupcake, anyone?

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  8. It’s just a shame that they came so close to getting this perfect.

    The flaw is that the app does not allow the phone to sleep properly so this is a major battery killer.

    Lets hope the Facebook team jump on this and get another update out quickly otherwise there will be a lot of unhappy users.

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  9. thanks. im trying to download facebook for android app but market is soooooo slow. tried clearing cache/data of certain apps from reading a forum post and still no luck. hopefully my download will come down soon

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  10. And how about support for the screen size of the iPad (including groups)?

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