Facebook claims over 1m beta Android users, releases alpha app

The social network is looking for users who are willing to put up with crashes and feature changes to improve the Android app.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

If you are finding the beta Facebook app for Android too stable, or too slow in its updating frequency, then the social network is looking for you to join its new alpha app program.

Over the weekend, Facebook announced that it is looking for users to test alpha builds of its Facebook Android app — and besides the standard crashing and changing features seen in alpha builds, the real catch is that using the alpha will take precedence over any Facebook beta or general release versions of the app.

"Alpha is not for the faint of heart — features will come and go, crashes will be introduced and fixed, and designs may go through many iterations," wrote Christian Legnitto, head of Facebook's mobile release engineering, in a blog post. "Because we are continually testing and experimenting on alpha, the Facebook for Android app that alpha users test will look and behave differently than what ultimately gets shipped in a general release."

The Alpha program follows on from Facebook's beta program that launched in June.

The company said that it has "over 1 million daily active users from over 150 countries" in the beta program, which resulted in more than 1,000 pieces of feedback per day.

"Our beta testers currently use phones from over 50 manufacturers, run multiple versions of Android, and use our app in varying network conditions," said Legnitto.

Last week, Facebook removed the ability for users to exclude themselves from search results returned to other users who search their names.

The company's chief privacy officer, Michael Richter, said that the option was only used by a small percentage of the network's users.

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