Facebook announces Android app with 2x faster photos

Facebook for Android is getting updated today. Photos and albums are up to two times faster, your messages and notifications are at the top of your screen, and there's also a new left-hand menu.

It looks like Facebook has quite a bit of Android news today, both for users and developers. Facebook has announced that a major update to its native Android mobile app is about to be released. The new version will be available from Google's Android Market later today (update: version 1.8 is out!).

Here is the official changelog for Facebook for Android 1.8:

  • Navigate anywhere, fast: Get to your groups, apps, pages, and settings with a single press
  • Search and you will discover: Look through friends, subscribers, apps, and pages
  • See your friends tags on pictures and zoom: New photo viewing experience
  • Faster notifications: Get alerted in real time with new push notifications
  • Games & Apps: Play games and access your favorite apps on the go
  • Access to mobile timeline (If you already have a timeline)
  • Access to friend lists and subscriptions

There are three main changes that Facebook wants to highlight with this release. First off, photos and albums are up to two times faster than the previous Android app. Photos can now be viewed with tags, comments, and Likes. It's also easier to share photos and edit captions on the go.

The other two main changes are navigational tweaks. Your messages and notifications are now at the top of your screen so you can respond to friends and stay updated without leaving the page you're on. Lastly, there's also a new menu on the left-hand side that lets you quickly access your News Feed, Groups, games, and apps.

In short, this new app appears to be bringing the Facebook app for Android nearer to the Facebook app for iOS, which by the way is getting closer and closer to the Facebook website. Moving around the UI is reminiscent of the iOS version, particularly version 4.0, which is available for the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch.

Facebook for Android 1.8 requires Android 1.5 (codenamed Cupcake) or later. Some features, especially those that are more closely integrated with Google's mobile OS, require Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo).

I don't own an Android phone but my friends regularly complain to me that the Facebook app is utter crap on Google's platform. Does this new version change your stance?

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