Don’t call it a comeback, because Facebook never really went away. (Though one must ponder the question of whether or not it will ever cease to exist, or if it will go on forever until Artificial Intelligence is updating our statuses for us. But we digress.) But to say that Facebook has had an easy road to mobile greatness would be a bit of a stretch.
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What used to be a rather pitiful offering has transformed into something that could graciously be described as functional—but that’s if we’re being generous. There was a time when using Facebook’s mobile site was less stressful than using the mobile application. We really don’t know what that says about either, though. Yet here we are discussing the social behemoth’s latest iteration, and frankly, it’s actually almost fun to use. So we wonder, has the social network been able to create an at-least-adequate facsimile to its desktop experience? Is that what we really want from a mobile experience anyway? Will we ever be satisfied?
You will never see us argue against the maxim of “less is more,” especially when it comes to functionality and design. But over the last couple of years, Facebook—at least the web version—has adopted a seemingly opposite approach, making change after change, addition after addition. The utility of the site itself has become at the very least questionable and at most indiscernible. Luckily, though, their approach to smartphone applications has narrowed in focus—at least, as much as something like Facebook can narrow its focus—and its current iteration actually manages to overcome the faults of its namesake by sheer ease of use, functionality and streamlined design. Navigation is a mostly intuitive experience, and its main uses—posting status updates and photos and keeping track of events—are easy to figure out.
Of course, the social aspect is always right on the surface, offering you the ability to comment, “like” (we’re still waiting for the thumbs down button, guys), and share updates, photos and links, all from the comfort of your news feed and timeline. The newly added capability to edit comments and posts is an absolutely welcome change, because who doesn’t want to make that one tiny little change that will take your comment from merely clever to brilliant?
We’re excited to see what other web-only features make their way to the mobile app, and we hope that posting photos to comments shows up sooner rather than later. Call us social media crossover junkies, but the So Much Wow Doge is basically the best response to most updates anyway, and we’d like to be able to post it as often as possible.
Even with all of the streamlined collaboration with Instagram, we think that one of the most interesting functions of Facebook—its messaging system —has taken on a unique life of its own. And it’s one that will continue to pique our interest now that WhatsApp is part of the Facebook Conglomeration of All Things Social (a total bummer for Snapchat). While it’s still tied to the main app, the introduction of Facebook Home brought with it a total from-the-ground-up redesign for the messaging app, and we love using it. Floating chat heads, supremely weird emoticons and a rather lovely user interface make sending and receiving messages an honestly fun time. However, the question is will it, or even can it, take over as our main SMS application once we start seeing the benefits of the WhatsApp acquisition?
As much as the newest version of the Facebook app shows a narrowed focus and some surprising attention to detail, they’re still trying to take over as many aspects of your daily life as possible. But with Facebook’s Paper app now on the scene, can we expect the social network to pay more attention to its latest arrival or continue showing love to the original Facebook app?
For more ratings on this app's security, battery consumption and data usage, check out Verizon's Android App Reviews.
Reviewed: Mar 21, 2014 | Jared BowersAlso featured on: Facebook Makes a Move for Moves, IFTTT Launches Android App + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Mobile App Usage Dominates Mobile Web Surfing, WhatsApp Breaks Record + Other App News, Also featured on: Twitter Gets More Like Facebook, Instagram Has More Users Than Twitter + Other App News, Also featured on: Celebrate Twitter’s Birthday with #FirstTweet, Pandora One Raises Price Tag + Other App News, Also featured on: Facebook Purchases WhatsApp, iOS Security Breaches + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Facebook Paper Launches, GetGlue Changes Name to tvtag + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: CES 2014 + App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Windows Users Get Instagram, Apple Store for iPad Launches + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Twitter Gets Visual, BBM Adds 20 Million Users + Other App News You Need To Know, Also featured on: Instagram for Windows Phone, “Google for Apps” + Other App News You Need To Know, Also featured on: Facebook Launches Alpha Test for Android Users + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: First 5 Apps you Should Install on Your New Windows Phone, Also featured on: How will Windows Phone 8 Apps Differ From Android and iOS?