Microsoft seeks beta testers for new Facebook for Windows Phone refresh

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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 Outlook.com. 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.


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