Facebook just launched their updated Facebook app for Android, which the social networking giant claims is “now quicker and easier to view photos, get messages and navigate around the app”. What does this actually mean? Basically put, it’s inherited the interface from the recently updated iPad and iPhone versions of the app. The UI has also been redone for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with the upper-right drop-down menu instead of the previous hidden menu interface.
From what Facebook says, photos and albums are up to twice as fast than the previous Android app (not surprising, for those of you who’ve used the old app, it’s nowhere near as smooth of an experience as on, say iOS or Windows Phone 7). Sharing photos, viewing comments and editing captions on the go have all been made easier, too. As long as everything is faster, than I think users will be content. The Facebook app on Android at the moment is incomparable in terms of overall user experience to the one on the iOS app.
The updated Facebook app puts messages and notifications at the top of the screen, and you can respond to friends and stay updated without leaving the page you’re on. Furthermore, you can also quickly access the News Feed, Groups, games and apps from the new left-side menu. The Facebook app update isn’t out live on the Android Market yet, but Facebook has just promised that it will be available soon. I’m probably speaking for all Android users when I say that hopefully happens very soon.
Zynga has made a bold decision. The company is re-designing its website in an effort to end its reliance on Facebook and set itself up as a standalone gaming platform. Is this the start of a tide-turning trend that could rock the social network?
Zynga, the company behind such monster social games as FarmVille, is distancing itself from Facebook, almost completely ending a tight relationship that’s seen both make enormous profit.
Zynga wants its gamers to ween themselves off of social networks and do their gaming across a variety of devices and platforms, not least of all its own website. “It will help users keep their Facebook profiles separate from their gaming habits while bringing Zynga closer to users,” says the company’s GM Manuel Bronstein.
“If they want to play on Facebook, if they play on mobile, if they play on the web, I want them to be connected to Zynga and it cannot be constrained to one single destination,” he adds.
Zynga’s decision to untangle itself from Facebook could have dangerous ramifications for the social network. For a start, Zynga’s looking to mop up games from other companies in its effort to create a one-stop shop for social gaming. If this works, it could suck the life out of Facebook’s gaming market.
As it stands, Facebook takes 30 per cent of money generated from each game. Zynga’s initial plans are for gamers to still make purchases using Facebook Credits, but if that changes it could put a serious dent in one of Facebook’s biggest revenue streams.