Facebook for Android is going Places, but there's no Zuckerphone

There was no Facebook phone announcement, but the social network has made significant updates to its Android and iPhone apps.

Asavin Wattanajantra
2 min read

The heavily rumoured Facebook phone failed to materialise yesterday, but there were significant updates to the social network's Android and iPhone applications, including the debut of Facebook Places for Android.

The Android app now includes a button to access Facebook Places. This feature means you can join iPhone owners in 'checking in' to locations with your phone's GPS. On the iPhone, Places has been updated to include a starred friends list, making it easier to tag friends you check-in with regularly.

Both apps now have the ability to set up and access Facebook Groups too. You could already play around with Groups on Facebook.com -- they allow you to create lists of friends and message them all at the same time.

Facebook for Android includes a change in the way it gives you notifications. Clicking a notification now won't send you to the browser, but to an appropriate destination within the app itself, if there is one.

The Facebook for iPhone app has been given a refresh, running noticeably faster and fixing some of the login problems that had been hitting users. On your news feed screen, there are three new buttons at the top, which allow you to take photos, change your status and check in without having to go back to the home screen. This makes the whole process a little smoother.

The iPhone app also adds another feature, so far only available in the US, called Facebook Deals. This works like Places, but instead of checking in to find local friends it allows you to find deals from nearby retailers and restaurants. Here's a video showing how it works. We'll surely see it in the UK soon.

Another significant feature for Android and the iOS4 version of the Facebook app is single sign-on. This should allow you to log in to other applications from Facebook without having to type in your username and password again. Only a few apps offer this functionality so far, but more will be added. Here's another vid of that in action.

If you already have the apps, you may well have downloaded the 3.3.1 update for iPhone or 1.4 update for Android already. Otherwise you can download them for free from the Android Market or the App Store.

So no Facebook phone, but if you have an iPhone or Android device, your mobile experience should be significantly better due to these changes. Have you tried the updated apps? Let us know what you think.