Microsoft seeks beta testers for new Facebook for Windows Phone refresh

Microsoft seeks beta testers for new Facebook for Windows Phone refresh

Summary: A new version of the official Facebook app, plus Skype video messaging for Windows 7 are now in the testing pipeline, according to Microsoft officials.


Microsoft is seeking beta testers for a refreshed version of the official Facebook app for Windows Phone, which was developed by Microsoft in conjunction with Facebook.


Microsoft officials blogged on April 30 that the company is seeking testers for the refreshed Facebook app for Windows Phone 8. The beta isn't available via the Windows Store (to avoid confusion, according to the Softies). Instead, the beta is available via this link.

The refreshed Facebook app is "undergoing a major redesign," according to the blog post, and will include several "much-requested" features, including support for high-res photos, post sharing and Facebook Timeline. Microsoft is requesting users to submit bugs and feature requests by going to Settings>About in the app.

The Verge's Tom Warren noted that the refreshed Windows Phone 8 Facebook app looks a lot more like the iOS and Android versions in terms of navigation than it does the current Windows Phone Facebook app.

Microsoft is keeping the existing Microsoft-developed Facebook app (version 4.2.1) around for the time being, allowing both apps to be installed side-by-side on users' phones.

There's no word as to when Microsoft expects to make the final version of the new Facebook for Windows Phone 8 app available.

Microsoft is in the midst of a major app push for Windows Phone 8. The company is expected to roll-out an app designed to encourage Android phone users to switch to Windows Phone 8 possibly some time this week. (It was originally expected last week.)

Speaking of app pushes, the Microsoft Skype team also announced today that it is making available a preview of Skype video messaging for Windows 7. Last night, the Skype team also announced plans for its preview of Skype video/audio call integration within The Skype Video Messaging preview also will be made available "shortly" for Windows 8, according to Skype officials.

Skype Video Messaging users record a video message and send it to other Skype users so that they can watch it next time they are online. 

To get the Skype Video Messaging preview, users need the latest beta version of Skype for Windows desktop. This feature requires Flash, the Softies note. Skype for Windows 8 and Skype for Windows phone users can receive and view these video messages, but so far cannot record or send them. Those capabilities are "coming to these platforms soon," according to today's blog post.

Microsoft announced the Skype Video Messaging preview for Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android users in mid-February, ahead of the Windows version announced today -- timing which didn't sit too well with a number of Windows users.


Topics: Windows 8, Collaboration, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • When....

    ...Will there be one for Windows RT ?
    • why?

      There is no need for a Facebook app for RT or for the modern UI on Win 8. The browser is more than capable. From the browser you can use the main site, mobile site,or touch site.
      • Wouldn't the modern UI version have a live tile?

        I have heard it said that those live tiles are very useful. If I just use IE, then I don't get the opportunity to stare at my all my screens full of live tiles.
        • With RT or Win8 Pro

          You get your Friends from Facebook added to your People (contacts) and there facebook profile pictures show up on that tile. The Me tile show you the latest update.
          • Also

            On Windows Phone.
      • Share charm

        You can't use the share charm with a website. This would be useful for many people.
        • link your Facebook account to people hub

          And you can share a website to facebook, same goes for twitter
      • Several Good Reasons

        As others have said... live tiles, search/share charms, and in general the web versions suck... particularly the site handles images posted very poorly.

        But if you still ask why I'll give you a simple reason... ads. Have you ever seen an ad on the mobile apps? Nope.
        • Can't speak to Windows Phone

          But iPhone FB definitely has ads.
        • sponsored post

          Are ads so are your friends like this and download this app that appear in your news feed, why do you think facebook rarely shows you recent posts, because they can control more of what you can see via their app. Don't want to see ads period, then use people hub
      • choice

        people like choice. I would use a facebook app in Win8 if it had a "normal" view and a "narrow" pinned view. I think one of the overlooked features of Win8 are the apps that are smart enough to know when they are pinned and give you an alternate view. With all its warts, the mail app does this. Weather. The official twitter app. Xbox music. Small, but useful.
  • WP 7.8?

    I know things are moving to 8+, but supporting 7.8 users on an app the significance of Facebook would be an appropriate step for MS, IMO. Alternatively, if they added the missing features right into the People hub, etc., I'd actually prefer that to a stand-alone app.
    • I still prefer... use the People Hub over an app, generally speaking, but I agree. I wish they'd implement several features in PH so that the app wasn't necessary, and I can continue to enjoy the Metro UI experience.
    • I deleted facebook app

      On my iphone I use the mobile website, for the mere reason you rarely see recent post in the fb app, for a top downloaded app fb app has a 2 star rating on iTunes
  • I hate it.

    It just looks like microwebsite, not like an app. Except for the lockscreen images randomly picking up photos from FB uploads, there is nothing enticing.
    Ram U
  • I'd love to beta test

    I've got the flagship Nokia 920 running WP 7.8. I paid top dollar for it, only 8 months ago. Any problem with that?
    • Oops, make that Lumia 900

      Oops, make that Lumia 900
  • To "prevent" Microsoft from not supporting 7.8 users sign the petition

    Facebook is a key application for Windows Phone.

    All users, who have trusted and now have smartphones equipped with Windows Phone 7.8, deserve full support from Microsoft.

    To "prevent" Microsoft from not supporting us you can sign my petition, guys ;)