By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 12:56 am
iPhone owners have had a very solid Facebook application for a while now–one that’s better than ever in the recent 3.0 release. Users of Android phones just got their first Facebook app–developed by Google with help from Facebook, and available in the Android Market–and the charitable way to look at it is to think of it as a good start. It’s got some of the obligatory basic features, like the ability to view your wall, your feed, and info on your friends. You can comment on things and Like them, and upload photos. There’s a neat Android Widget–a sort of mini-Facebook that sits on the phone’s desktop–and an equally neat Facebook address book that lets you dial your friends’ phone numbers if they’ve listed them in Facebook.
But the list of things that are in the iPhone app but not the Android one is just about as long as the list of items the Android one does have. If there are photos, I can’t figure out how to view them. I also can’t tell if there’s a way to pull up a friend’s info unless that person happens to have something in your feed. There’s no support for events or chat, and I don’t see a way to accept friend requests. And some aspects of the user interface are a bit wonky (it takes so many clicks to view comments on your wall that you might lose interest).
Android fans aren’t completely out of luck; it’s easy enough to jump from the app into Facebook Lite, the Web-based version of Facebook. Despite its name, it’s a richer incarnation of the service than the Facebook app in a number of ways, and sports features which the app lacks. But if I’d been champing at the bit to get my hands on Facebook for Android, I’d be disappointed by this first version. With any luck, Google is already at work on a meatier update.
After the jump, some screens.