Facebook for Android review: The best way to use Facebook on the go

When you share your photo post, you'll see a collage of your pictures in the News Feed. Tap on the collage to open a new page with all of the full-size images, where you can add comments, or like each photo.

Facebook for Android also lets you share your friends' posts from your News Feed. To do so, just hit the Share button and add your own thoughts to the post (if you want), then pick an audience setting to share publicly, only with friends and so on.

Find your friends

Nearby Friends is a feature that uses GPS, it shows the approximate location of your friends, grouped by city. It's similar to Apple's Find My Friends feature, which uses your phone's contacts and GPS to plot your friends and family's location on a map.

To use it, you need to enable the feature in the More tab, under Nearby Friends -- Facebook will not automatically turn on this feature for you. You can also turn it on by touching the icon at the top-right of the app, which looks like a person with three lines behind it. That'll open your chat list, and at the top, there's a section for Nearby Friends.

facebook-android-nearby-friends-feature.jpg
Facebook's Nearby Friends feature helps you see your friends' locations. Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

To give your friends a more precise location, you need to manually share your location. To do that, find the friend you want to share with on your Nearby Friends list and tap the tiny navigation icon next to his or her name. You can choose how long you want to share your location (the default is 2 hours), and an optional message. Then, your friend will see your profile photo on a map, marking your exact location. If friends tap on your photo, it goes straight to your profile, where they can message you to get together.

Facebook says the point of all of this is to be able to see which of your friends are nearby so you can have more face-to-face encounters. If that's the case, I wish Facebook launched a new chat when someone touched on a profile picture from the map, or selected a friend from the Nearby Friends list. Going to their profile is an unnecessary step.

Nearby Friends can be useful for finding friends nearby, but it's hard to say how much value it brings. At the very least, you might be able to avoid encounters with people you don't want to see because you'll know roughly where they are.

Instant messaging

Facebook removed all instant messaging features from the main app, forcing you to use its separate Messenger app to chat with your friends. There is still a tab for your message inbox in the app, but you if you open it, you can only see a page telling you that you'll need to download Facebook Messenger to send or receive messages on your phone. Since it's unlikely that Facebook will bring messaging back to the app anytime soon, I wish that the inbox tab would disappear altogether.

Personalize your profile

If you want to change your account settings, the Facebook app offers some options. There is a full Settings menu available, so you can tweak notifications, security and so on. And if you want to change your Cover Photo or profile photo, you can do so right from your Timeline. You can do all of this from the More tab.

Final thoughts

Facebook for Android makes it easy to quickly skim through your News Feed and fire off updates at will, thanks to its helpful sharing features and security tools. You can share your location with your friends, which can prove helpful for impromptu get-togethers. However, the sheer number of steps needed to use that feature makes it feel secure, but still clunky.

Facebook also gets a modern new design that makes it a bit more complicated to use but easier on the eyes. It may still not be the most attractive app on the market, but Facebook for Android certainly does a fine job of helping you stay connected.

Jaymar Cabebe contributed to this review.

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Don't Miss

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Where to Buy

    Facebook (Android)

    Part Number: com.facebook.katana

    Free

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Category Social networking
    • Compatibility Android