Facebook might have had an Android app since last year, but I (and most people I know) never really bothered using it. The half-baked official app lacked many of the basic features, insisted on opening the browser for pretty much anything and everything, and was simply too frustrating. Last week, when it was revealed that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, was also using Android, many of us hoped that the official Facebook app for Android would finally get a much needed overhaul. The good news is that the new Facebook app has arrived and it is indeed a major improvement.
The updated Facebook app boasts of multiple new features. The most obvious changes, which are visible from the home-screen itself are:
- Support for Events: This new section allows you to view your upcoming events, learn more about each of them and even RSVP.
- Support for Friend Request Notification: The home screen now includes a new Requests button, which enables you to monitor and accept/reject all friend requests from the Facebook app itself.
- Photo Reel: The bottom half of the screen has a nifty little photo-reel (see screenshot above), which pulls in the latest pictures and videos from your Facebook activity stream. The app should also be able to playback Facebook videos (H.264).
- Improved Navigation: You get single click access to all the basic features including status updates, friend search, notifications and more. Even more importantly, you don’t need to open your browser to do any of these tasks.
The Facebook app is not complete by any means. There are still plenty of missing features including Chat and Reshare. Nevertheless, it’s a huge improvement over its predecessor. There are still some annoyances. For example, it still insists on using the browser for responding to notifications. Let’s hope that this update is just the beginning and Facebook will continue to regularly update its app for one of the fastest growing mobile platforms.