Back in August Facebook updated it’s iOS app. They finally wrote a native app and abandoned what was previously just an HTML5 wrapper. It was incredibly slow, and that was most user’s chief complaint. While that complaint was completely valid, the issue’s didn’t stop there. Unfortunately the app released in August only addressed the speed issue.
Mark Zuckerberg just recently told Mike Arrington that betting the house on HTML5 for mobile apps was a bad idea. This seems apparent based on the fact that Facebook released these apps last month. It’s unclear at the moment, whether that means there are still more app improvements to come, but you really never know with Facebook.
I remained utterly perplexed that copying and pasting is not allowed within the iOS app. I suppose Facebook wants to keep content in their ecosystem, but I can’t even copy and paste my own status updates. What compounds the matter is that there is no where to share a post. So if someone posts something I want to share with others I have no way to do it “natively”, or by manually copying and pasting it.
Their push notifications are unreliable at best. I used to interpret this as some sort of disdain for mobile, but that just doesn’t make sense. Common sense would dictate that they want users spending as much time as possible on the service, but that doesn’t happen if they don’t know there is something new to see. Perhaps they think people will check more often in lieu of being notified, but this just seems like a massive oversight overall.
The complete lack of any sort of advertisements is also perplexing. I am not complaining, but it just makes no sense. Facebook’s main income stream (I assume) is advertising, yet there isn’t a single ad anywhere in the mobile app. This means one of two things, either they don’t care about mobile or their ads don’t make them any money. I don’t think either of those things are true, which is why this is probably more an explanation for why the mobile app is so limited, they want to do whatever they can to force users to use the website.
Despite the tech bubble most of the people I know exist in, smartphones are still in the minority. As they gain more steam, and they are every day, Facebook is going to have to do more with their mobile apps. That should include everything listed above. In the meantime, the Facebook app experience is an incredibly frustrating.