Facebook pushes forward on Android strategy with new beta test program

The world's largest social network is showing some more love for Google's mobile operating system.


Facebook has been chugging along with its mobile strategy over the last year.

While we know that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a big fan of native apps over HTML5 , Android has gotten the shorter end of the stick in favor of iOS.

That's not necessarily the case anymore based on a new announcement coming from Menlo Park today.

Certainly, Facebook made a play on Android earlier this year with the less-than-successful Home interface for Google's mobile OS.

But the world's largest social network is pressing forward on the Android platform by tapping into the developer community for more feedback (and work).

The Facebook for Android Beta Testing program has been set up to accumulate performance data and feedback from more people ahead of further updates for the Android mobile app.

This program directed at users actually stems from an existing one that involved industry partners, including Qualcomm, HTC, Ericsson, Sony, Huawei and MediaTek.

Now, any Android device owners can join the program. All they have to do is download the beta releases when available and then report bugs as they happen.

However, users are warned that the beta versions of the Facebook Android app might be "less stable" than normal.

Facebook product manager Ragavan Srinivasan hinted in a blog post on Thursday that Android is optimal for this program (say compared to iOS) by noting that "Android's reach allows us to get Facebook out to more people throughout the world, and the diversity of devices and networks means more affordable smart phones for more people."

Srinivasan continued:

Facebook is the most-downloaded app in the Play Store, so we need to make sure it works for everyone, no matter their amount of RAM, network conditions, or version of Android they might be using. Factors like data costs and network speeds are especially important to users, and we want to make sure we're always optimizing their experiences. With so many use cases to solve, testing becomes crucial to ensuring positive, consistent experiences across Android.

To get started, interested beta testers have to sign up with groups on both Facebook and Google along with navigating a few steps through the Google Play app store.

Image via the Facebook for Android Beta Testers group