A new version of Facebook for, version 1.3, is in the wild, and available for free. How does it stack up against the previous version and the equivalent? Armed with the updated version, a non-updated phone from a local Luddite and an Apple handset, we got comparing.
The comfortable symmetry in the home screen of the previous version has been usurped by a smaller menu. Events and friend-request buttons are new additions to the Android app (though long-time features in the iPhone app) and have pride of place. Notifications has been relocated, meanwhile (see below).
The application's slightly misshapen menu in this new version, showing space for at least two more menu buttons, could suggest that smaller, more frequent updates may gradually add new features. Unlike Facebook for iPhone, however, this new version still doesn't allow you to add your own shortcuts to, for example, your friends' profiles to the home screen.
Easy-access buttons for your messages and Facebook's uber-powerful search feature have been placed in the application's top bar, which is present throughout the app. You can freely toggle between searching among just your friends and searching Facebook's.
One of Facebook's main draws is photo sharing, and the new Android app doesn't disappoint in this capacity. The welcome screen houses a noticeable, although not distracting, photo slide show of your friends' recently posted snapshots, as well as thumbnails for links. The bar is easy enough to slide through with a sharp finger-swipe, although putting a little too much oomph into a swipe caused the bar to rush to the end sometimes.
Click on a photo once and you're taken to the post, click again and you get a full-screen version of the image. From both of these views you can comment on or '' what you see.
Albums are laid out in thumbnail form and you can zip through full-screen photos in an album by hitting the left and right buttons on either side of the image. From here you can, again, comment or like, as well as share pictures easily with your friends.