For those of you that love Facebook but get frustrated by the slow responsiveness of the site when you’re accessing it on an iPad or iPhone, you’ll be pleased to know that a new faster version of the site has been launched. The team at Facebook have known that there’s been a problem for over eighteen months and the re-launch has taken some time, as rather than just add new features and make a few tweaks, the team completely went back to drawing board and rebuilt the app from scratch to make it more responsive.
The application was recently demonstrated at the company’s headquarters in California and the app got off to an impressive start by opening up in half the time that it had previously taken. Not only that, but it’s now far quicker to scroll through news feeds; photos and comments load faster which provides users with a better experience and unlike previous versions, you are now able to ‘like’ the comments that other people have posted as well as posting your own too.
In the quest to speed up the site, some functionality has been lost, but these features tended to be those that were either little known or little used, including one that helped you to be able to view the Facebook app on your phone horizontally, but it is unlikely that this will be missed by many.
The improvements are due to the fact that the new Facebook app is no longer written in HTML5 but instead in the native code; the HTML5 version was great as it enabled Facebook to be able to create an app and roll it out across multiple platforms, which although quick to do, didn’t provide the end user of either iOS or Android devices with a great experience and was the reason for the apps sluggishness.
All of this is great news for iPhone and iPad users (who’ll also notice that the new app displays the Timeline, which is currently in the process of being rolled out across its entire website user base), but for those of you using the app on Android, there is no news as to whether, let alone when a new app for Android will be written. In light of the fact that Android now has a larger market share than iOS you would assume that this is a priority and must at least be in the pipeline, if not near launch, so let’s hope that’s a news story that’s not too far away from breaking.
Facebook has become a phenomenal success with its number of registered uses rising to nine hundred and ninety five million by the end of June this year. Of this total, over five hundred and forty three million accessed the site through either a smartphone or a tablet computer, a number which has grown by sixty seven percent This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for Facebook, as these numbers are predicted to increase further as smartphone and tablet ownership continues to grow. The challenge for Facebook is how it can gain revenue from its app in the same way that it does through its website, where ads are placed onscreen. This isn’t as easy as it sounds as mobile advertisements get it the way of the mobile experience due to the difference in screen size and people regard their mobile ‘space’ as more private and personal than when they are on a website and hence they are felt to be more intrusive.
This issue has become a concern for many investors, which has resulted in the value of Facebook’s stock declining by almost half since the company went public just three months ago. The advances that Facebook have made in speeding up the site are unlikely to be aimed at just benefiting the users, as it was a prerequisite for being able to attract mobile advertisers too. The fact that pages are automatically updated rather than having to reload the pages yourself was critical for advertisers where Facebook are now allowing companies to place sponsored stories and posts in peoples news feeds. This is important as companies want to have real-time ad placement on social media sites in the same way that they do for what has now become traditional online advertising. This form of advertising then has the ability to target a potential customer that for example may be about to look for somewhere to go and have a coffee or lunch; coupons and promotions can then be viewed to help influence where that person decides to have that coffee.
So, if you would like to download this new version of the Facebook app to either your iPhone or iPad, go to the Apple Apps Store where it is available to download for free; giving you the best possible way to stay connected online with your friends and family, wherever you are.