Facebook releases speedier Apple iOS apps as users weep tears of joy

And the seas parted, and the masses shouted, “Hallelujah!”

An end to war? An end to poverty? The elimination of all suffering on Earth?

Nope. Just new Facebook mobile apps for iPhones and iPads. This addresses one of the biggest complaints facing the company from its uses. Namely, that it’s current apps are ridiculously slow and inelegant. Like many, I have also been critical of their older apps, which utilized Web-based technologies. Their lethargic performance was so aggravating that I all but stopped using them. And given how poor they were, it’s remarkable to consider that Facebook was still enjoying extraordinary growth on mobile platforms. So much so, of course, that analysts were panicking about the company’s financial future.

Will this turn things around? We’ll see. But for the moment, the early signs are promising. According The New York Times:

“The apps look nearly identical to their predecessors. The main difference is that most of their old Web-based code has been replaced with the native programming code used for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system .”

This all has been the result of a major strategic and cultural change inside Facebook, according to the Times:

“The new apps are the result of a major restructuring happening inside Facebook. In recent interviews, Facebook executives said they have retooled the organization so that every product team is working on mobile, and the company holds weekly training courses on programming for Apple and Android devices.

Facebook engineers say the changes to the apps were necessary to deliver the instant gratification that people want when they are on mobile devices.”

The Verge claims the new app is twice is fast. The new apps also include the functions of the separate Facebook Messenger and Camera apps. In addition, there are a few brand new features, says The Verge:

One new gesture enables easier one-handed browsing: when you’re viewing a photo, you can swipe down on it return to the previous screen. Another new feature is a “New Stories” banner that pops up at the top of your screen while you browse the News Feed. While it’s unclear whether the app is checking in the background or streaming in new updates like Tweetbot, the banner ensures you’re always seeing the latest updates.”

It’s probably not enough to address the broader perception that Facebook has a big mobile problem. But it sounds like a solid first step in the right direction.



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  • Atlant

    Maybe some day they’ll fix their UI so that it doesn’t completely suck?

    (Normally, I’d write a less-blunt, more nuanced complaint, but frankly, the Facebook UI, whether directly via the web or via an app, sucks so badly that I have no idea where to begin listing its suckage.)