Facebook App 2.0
The second coming of the Facebook iPhone app shows plenty of promise.
- Revamped interface, extensive functionality, easy to use
- Some tabbed areas are hard to navigate, no Pirate language setting
Only a few months out from Facebook’s first attempt, the second version of the iPhone app sees a total overhaul that fixes a number of issues and adds a great deal of functionality. There’s little wrong here.
When we looked at the original FaceBook App 1.1 a few months back, it was an ambitious if slightly underwhelming interface for the popular social networking community on the iPhone. Now Facebook has hit back with version 2.0, with a total revamp both on the surface and under the hood. This is a must-have for any Facebook addict, and it successfully and rather elegantly recreates the Facebook experience in a manner that suits the iPhone.
So what’s changed? Users familiar with the old Facebook app are unlikely to recognise the new version; gone are the simplistic buttons that resembled any generic mobile version of a Web site. Instead, the new Facebook App's interface has a three-level structure of tabs that denote each of Facebook’s different aspects.
The main page — entitled the “News Feed” — clearly resembles a Facebook user's normal home page, with the latest status updates and general happenings of your friends, and with easily accessible buttons to make appropriate (or predictably inappropriate and often distressingly public) comments. The feed is broken up into amalgamated news, photos, status updates, and any relevant applications you have on your profile. The tabbed area is a little small, particularly when you have to flick across in order to navigate through the options, but we didn’t have too many problems.
The staples of any iPhone app are still available in the new Facebook App — at any moment you can easily take a photo of whatever random task you’re currently engaged in and post on your profile for the world to see. Updating your status is just as easy, with a permanent quick access button available in the top left corner.
Of course, both of these features were available in the first version of the application, and they’re not the only ones. The live chat instant messaging function is still available, presented in the same threaded fashion as the iPhone’s own SMS app, which makes typing and chatting easy. Unfortunately, like the SMS app, there’s no landscape mode, so you’re stuck with the smaller soft keyboard.
Facebook has even remedied those complaints we felt held the app back from being a true social networking experience. Friend requests can now easily be accepted or rejected through the app, while photos are better assimilated into the experience, with the ability to easily flick through a friend’s album and leave comments without hassle.
There are few complaints to be had with the new version of Facebook — gaps in functionality and interface shortcomings have been resolved in a surprisingly efficient fashion. Though individual preference will inevitably prevail, Facebook 2.0 for the iPhone has a better chance of being usable for longer periods compared to the original.
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