Facebook released an update for its iOS app today with a number of small changes and improvements, including faster loading for events and a way for users to easily save photos from Facebook to their phone.
Events was one of the sections that hadn’t yet been completely rebuilt for speed like the News Feed, photos, messages and other areas have. Now, the main events page and individual events themselves seem to load much quicker. This could lead to more RSVPs and interactions on the event page from mobile now that the product is not so slow.
Now when viewing a photo fullscreen, there’s a new ellipsis icon with options to save the photo, share it or report it. This makes these functions more accessible for users. Previously, a user had to take a screenshot of their phone to save an image, or leave fullscreen view to share or report it.
Facebook released version 2.0 of its Pages Manager app for iOS on Wednesday, making it faster and including features like photo filters and stickers from its other applications. However, it no longer includes detailed post insights such as clicks and People Talking About This, and it no longer allows page owners create offers.
Previously, page owners could get several metrics about each of their posts, but now the only per-post metric that’s available is overall reach. Tapping the number leads page owners to a screen where they can pay to promote their post. To see insights like Link clicks, engaged users or even shares, page owners now have to visit desktop.
Many page owners may see this as another way that Facebook is putting its revenue-generating Promoted Posts feature ahead of functionality for admins. For example, a recent change on desktop replaced page notifications in the admin panel with prompts to promote their posts. [Update: A Facebook spokesperson says these features will be integrated in the next version of the app.]
Facebook is No. 1 most downloaded iPhone app of all time – Celebrating 50 billion total downloads across the App Store this week, Apple released new all-time most downloaded apps with Facebook at No. 1 of the free iPhone downloads list. Instagram is No. 3 and Messenger is No. 16. Compared to Facebook’s three, Google has four apps in the top 25: YouTube, Google, Google Earth and Google Maps.
Among free iPad downloads, Facebook is No. 6, with Skype at No. 1.
Facebook courts media with new portal – Facebook has launched a new section of its developer site to focus on how media and journalists can best use the platform for distribution. It gives an overview of possible website integrations, such as the Like button, Facebook Comments and Open Graph optimization. It also offers best practices for managing Facebook pages, along with related research reports and case studies. Slate, for example, doubled its referral traffic from Facebook between the second quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 by adding a new share button to its stories, optimizing its Open Graph tags and focusing on its page strategy.
Microsoft to redesign Facebook for Windows Phone – Microsoft announced this week that it would open the Windows Phone Beta app program to give users an opportunity to test the latest redesign of its Facebook app. Unlike Facebook for iOS and Android, which are developed internally by Facebook, the app for Windows Phone is created by Microsoft. The beta app will get Timeline, the share button and more high resolution photos.
Facebook looks to expand Dublin operation with new office – Facebook has agreed to rent office space with room for at least 800 people in a building in Grand Canal Square in Dublin, according to Independent.ie. The company recently said it would be adding 100 employees to its Dublin headquarters, which is currently around 400 people. The new office would give the company room to grow. The Daniel Libeskind building where the new office will be is in an area sometimes referred to as Dublin’s ”Silicon Square Mile.” Google has an office nearby.
Facebook today announced updates for its iOS apps, which bring new messaging features to iPhone and the new News Feed design to both the iPad and iPhone.
Facebook will begin offering “stickers,” which are larger emoji that are popular in Asian messaging apps like Line, KakaoTalk and WeChat. Stickers are a key source of revenue for these and other third-party apps. Facebook announced a “sticker store,” but for now, the stickers are free to download.
Facebook names UCSF chancellor to board – Facebook this week named UC San Francisco Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann to its board of directors. Desmond-Hellmann was previously president of product development at Genentech, where Facebook CFO David Ebersman previously served as chief financial officer. Desmond-Hellmann is also on the board at Procter & Gamble, a major advertiser on the social network. Desmond-Hellmann will receive an annual retainer fee of $50,000 and 20,000 restricted stock units, which will vest over four years. Facebook’s other board members are Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Marc Andreessen, Erskine Bowles, James Breyer, Don Graham, Reed Hastings and Peter Thiel.
Facebook brings free calling to some Android users – An update to Messenger for Android this week includes free voice calling for users in Canada. The feature is available to iOS users in several territories, but this is the first instance of it in the Android app. Users can call their friends who also have the latest version of Messenger and talk for free over Wi-Fi or using their existing data plan.
Facebook today launched an update for the Facebook SDK for iOS, which seeks to make it easier and faster to develop socially integrated mobile apps and provide developers with better app analytics.
With Facebook SDK version 3.2, developers will be able to track conversions beyond installs. This means that developers will be able to see whether their mobile app install ads resulted in additional in-app purchases, engagement or other important events. Developers can install mobile pixels on the app pages they want to measure, such as a level completion, shopping cart or checkout page. With this in place, developers can optimize their ads for these conversions so that they don’t just get installs, but high quality users.
Facebook today released version 5.5 of its iOS app, which now allows users in the U.S. and Canada to call friends for free directly from the app.
Facebook users have been able to make free calls via the social network’s Messenger app for iOS since January, but today that functionality has been added to its more widely used main app. From a Facebook message, users can tap the “i” icon in the top right corner and select “free call.” This will only work if both users are in the U.S. or Canada and have the latest version of Facebook or Facebook Messenger installed on their iOS device.
Other changes in version 5.5 include more prominent buttons to Like, comment on and share posts in the News Feed. The design for the buttons is the same one that Facebook uses on its mobile site. In addition, the Share button to repost stories from the News Feed is now available in all languages.
We also noticed that the icon in the corner of posts that gives users options to hide or mark a post as spam has been changed from three vertical dots to an upside down caret.
Facebook today released an update for its main iOS application, which includes voice messaging and video recording, as well as a more efficient way to hide ads and mark posts as spam directly from News Feed.
Voice messages are a new feature of Facebook’s standalone Messenger app that has been brought to the main app now, as it did on Android little over a week ago. This allows users to send asynchronous voice messages up to 60-seconds long. The free voice calling feature, which is still limited to only certain regions, has not been added to the main app. It is only available via Messenger for iOS.
Facebook today announced changes to its mobile app install ad unit, including a way for iOS 6 users to download apps without leaving the social network. Developers also gained new tools for customizing their ad creative and seeing the results of their campaign.
Mobile app install ads, launched in October after beginning in beta in August, are feed-based ads to drive downloads of third-party iOS and Android applications. Developers can use the same demographic and interest-based targeting options as they can for other ads on the Facebook platform, including being able to target users who have not already connected with an app.
Typically these ads lead to the Apple App Store or Google Play, but now Facebook has created a way for iOS 6 users to see an App Store overlay within the Facebook app. These users can download a developer’s app without losing their place in News Feed. For now, Android users will still be taken out of the app and into Google Play.
Facebook today released an update to its iOS application that improves the speed of the app and includes a new feature for users to upload photos to an album.
The iOS update comes on the heels of an overhaul of the Android app earlier today with natively built features to make the app faster and easier to use. The company doesn’t try to release iOS and Android updates on the same day, but this is the second time in a row that apps have been ready to go at the same time. Facebook is working toward more regular release cycles so users can begin to expect more innovation and improvements.
Uploading photos to specific albums is a feature that first appeared in the standalone Camera app in August. Then last month Facebook took a number of features from Camera and put them into the main app, but album selection was left out. Today’s update brings parity to the experiences.
The other important part of the update was speed. Timeline has been completely rebuilt to run faster on iOS. As we pointed out in August when News Feed and photo browsing got an update, Timeline still lagged. The company is continuing to optimize speed across platforms since the more easily users can switch between sections of the app, pull up photos, load comments, check notifications and take other actions, the more they’ll use the app to engage with content, friends and ,of course, ads.
Facebook for iOS 5.3 is available here.