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14 Dec 12 Facebook Rebuilds Android App for Speed

Facebook’s overhauled its app for Android smartphones.

In September Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walked on stage to tell the public he had made a mistake: Facebook’s mobile strategy was “in a pretty bad place” earlier in the year, he said at the time.

Since then, Facebook completed a revamp of its iPhone application to make it faster and more responsive — and it did the same thing with its Android application today.

Facebook ditched its HTML5 plans and released native mobile applications that are built for the specific platforms — like the iPhone and Android — which are supposed to work faster and provide a better user experience.

The net result is that users interact with Facebook more, Zuckerberg said at the time. The changes in the new Android app today are pretty similar to the changes in the iPhone application, but here’s a quick run through them:

  • Faster. The app is rebuilt specifically for Android, which means it opens more quickly and the News Feed and Timeline have been rebuilt to update and flow more quickly.
  • Photos have their own showcase screen. When an Android user taps a photo, it will blow up to the full size of the screen with a few options on the bottom to tag or comment.

Again, not much different from the existing iPhone experience — other than the fact that Facebook is making good on its promise to overhaul its mobile experience.

Facebook’s shift to mobile has usually been referred to as the company’s biggest challenge. Typical advertising doesn’t work as well on small screens, like that of the iPhone.

That means Facebook has to find more creative ways to monetize mobile users effectively, and has to keep them engaged and coming back to the app on a regular basis to ensure they are able to monetize them. Having an effective app is a key part of that.

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