Facebook is the most popular application in the Play Store, and despite their impressive effort over the past 12 months, it’s still pretty horrible. Notifications don’t work consistently, content is slow to load, and it still doesn’t use the proper API to sync contacts. To their credit though, Facebook have been very open about how bad the application is, and about their efforts to improve it. The latest note from Facebook Engineering describes their partner beta programme, where pre-release versions of the Facebook app are given to ‘leading industry partners’ such as Qualcomm, HTC, Ericsson, Sony, Huawei and MediaTek (interestingly Samsung are omitted) to help optimise the application for a variety of hardware. Facebook’s latest strategy is to let users test pre-release editions of their application through the Play Store’s beta testing process. To sign up for the beta programme, just follow these steps:

  1. Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers Google group
  2. Allow beta downloads by clicking Become a Tester in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
  3. Download Facebook from the Play Store to update your app
  4. Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers group on Facebook to tell us what you think

You may need to try step 2 a few times – apparently sometimes you’ll get hit by a 404 error, but it will eventually work. Changelog for this first beta is as follows:

  • Share News Feed stories in a private message
  • Swipe left and right to open chat and bookmarks
  • Based on feedback, you can now store the app on your phone’s SD card (Android 2.3.7 and lower)
  • Stability improvements
  • New if you’re using Facebook Home: Organize your apps with folders—just drag one app onto another to create a folder


Source: Facebook Engineering.
Via: Android Police.
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    Nick Bryant

    I finally uninstalled Facebook after the last update. Not due to the poor quality but because of the incredibly invasive permissions it requires.

    If you read the permission tab of the app in the Play Store it is quite frightening. Why does FB need to be able to read/modify my call log?


    Its also hit and miss on what news feed comes through, including those days where there is feed from weeks ago, only getting a couple of items from last 24 hours and quite often just being put in random order. As much as I use the app I still go back to a desktop and scroll back to see what may have been missed.