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Facebook's Android app isn't what you'd call a shining example of standards-based development, but it's been steadily improving for the last couple of years. A tipster who's using the latest Facebook Android beta sent us screenshots of what the next major iteration might look like. After resetting his account and being sent the relevant codes, our reader noticed two "code generator" entries in the app's slide-out menu. Tapping the first one shifted his app's UI considerably.

normal(on launch) two code generators alternative(top stories)

The newer screenshot is on the right, the older one on the left. The most notable change is that the secondary menu bar (status/photo/check in) has disappeared in the newer user interface. You can also tell that the messenger button in the upper right-hand corner has been changed into a menu button. Pressing it opens up a switch between the "Top" stories and the most recent ones. The interface itself uses larger text and buttons which should make for easier reading and navigation. (The device is a Nexus 4, if you're wondering.) Note that the "Like" and "Comment" buttons are now centered and justified.

when you click top right

I wasn't able to replicate our tipster's results, and in any case it's probably not finished yet - there's currently no obvious way to make a new post or start an instant message conversation. He reports that the secondary menu bar returns after you switch between top stories and most recent, and the recent filtering is currently broken and showing stories from random times. Of course, teething troubles aren't exactly unexpected in a beta. Here's hoping that some of the easier-to-read formatting changes make it into the stable build soon.

Thanks, Matt!

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://twitter.com/_vinr vinothr

    Still looks the same. Google+ is lightyears ahead of them in design.

    • mesmorino

      And lightyears behind them in terms of actual usability and accessibility

      • Zach Bonjour

        Please, expound on that. Examples would be nice too.

        • Grimmjow

          yes please, pound on that.

      • http://twitter.com/_vinr vinothr

        You sir, just won the "Best Joke" of the year!

      • amugofjava

        I really have to disagree with that - I think the Google+ app has far better UI and UX. One example being notifications - the FaceBook notifications drive me nuts! FaceBook seems insistent on sending me a notification for every response on a thread whether I have already answered it on another device or not. Switched my phone on yesterday morning and it went ping! ping! ping! twenty damn times for each comment in a thread. G+ would have sent one notification and none at all if I had already responded on another device. There a plenty of these annoyances in the FaceBook app that all add up to a very frustrating experience.

        Why do you think the app is so bad?

        • mesmorino

          It's the opposite for me: I'm not overwhelmed by messages on the Facebook app... Except that I don't get ANY notifications with the G+ app. It looks nice, it's pretty, but that doesn't help when it doesn't tell me anything.

          In any case, I don't think it's "so bad" I simply prefer the Facebook app- which isn't to say that it's any better. Like, in the G+ app, where do I find my friends/circles? In the "people" tab, it shows friend *suggestions* wtf? why? I open the Facebook app and click friends: It shows me my friends list. job done

          I open Photos. Photos in general are just terrible on G+. Why is it showing me pictures from Google Drive? Why can't it just have albums? Or is that too simple and straightforward? It's showing me pictures from a "scrapbook", "pictures from posts", and two different "profile photos" albums. I open the Facebook app and click Pictures: It shows me all my albums. job done.

          And on and on like that. A bunch of minor irritations all add up, you know? I find the Facebook app mildly disappointing. In contrast, I find the G+ app annoying

          • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

            Lesson for ignorant person above:

            - Scroll beyond the suggestions (takes a couple seconds) and all your friends/contacts are neatly stacked in groups.

            - In Photos, tap the dropdown and it gives you options what to view. Albums is one of them.

            Just because you're ignorant doesn't mean an app is bad.

            The FB app is slow, clunky, eats battery, runs a dumb background service at all times, fails on notifications a lot and just is terrible. Its a pretty universally accepted fact.

          • mesmorino

            You're still not understanding. You say "scroll down and it's there". Right, that's all well and good, except that I have to scroll down to the bottom of the list to a) see them, and b) create a new circle. The BOTTOM of the list. Contrast that with the facebook app, which shows me what I've asked for, immediately.

            The facebook app is not slow or clunky for me, and doesn't fail on notifications AT ALL. I don't know what your phone set up is, but the facebook app is not that bad on mine And as for "universally accepted facts", you need to start coming up with better arguments than that- It was once a universally accepted fact that the earth was flat.

          • Morten Ulveseth

            Facebook does not shot Albums as default. It has the same exact behavior as G+. As for showing you Drive photos, I'm pretty sure you got a popup about that. You can turn it off at any time.

            While G+ is hardly far behind FB in terms of usability, I agree with you that there are a few things that FB does better. In G+ Friends and public pages share the same space and it doesn't require mutual friendship, so you don't know if people in your circles will ever see the stuff you post to them. I find it weird.

          • A.Noid

            Yeah, Facebook has to be one of the slowest apps on any of my devices.

        • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

          My screen would keep turning on and the phone would keep vibrating like a moron even when I was chatting on the desktop. So, not just the FB app, but Messenger & Pages Manager are both horrible too.

          • amugofjava

            I guess in the end it's all down to choice and personal preference and which app bugs irk the most :)

      • Adam Truelove

        Wait what?? I just assumed it was common knowledge that the Facebook app was one of the worst designed apps, and G+ the best.

        • mesmorino

          Only among Android fans, a large subset of whom are Google fans (who also tend to be G+ fans). The Facebook app isn't the best, but you know what? It's not THAT bad. Same for the G+ app.

          If anything, they're both distinctly average

          • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

            Dude, even iOS die-hards say that the G+ app on iOS is ages ahead of the FB app. You're just deluded.

          • mesmorino

            Don't be stupid. It is not deluded to prefer one thing over the other And for what it's worth, I don't give a shit what freaking iOS users think.

          • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

            You say the G+ app is as terrible as the FB app and I'm the one who's stupid? Cool.
            I mentioned iOS because you said this - "Only among Android fans, a large subset of whom are Google fans (who also tend to be G+ fans)."

          • mesmorino

            I didn't say you were stupid, I said "Don't be stupid". There's a difference. And yes, they're as bad as each other, but for different reasons. I can live with the Facebook app's shortcomings, the G+ app, not so much

      • Darkbotic

        Epic down voting for a trolling idiot.

        • mesmorino

          You're a special kind of idiot. First, for not actually knowing what a troll is. Second, for being too stupid to simply downvote and move on. Keep walking, dumbass

          • Darkbotic

            Want a cookie?

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        If you had said user base, you'd have had a point.

        • mesmorino

          What user base? what are you talking about?

    • Sergio

      If you want to shift UI, just install Klyph for Facebook

      • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

        Its handicapped by privacy settings, has odd glitches and I had to uninstall it after a couple weeks. It nailed the UI though!

        • turdbogls

          for someone that just browses FB once a day, Klyph nailed it....but yes, its not for the "power user" for sure.

          i really wish my friends/family would use G+...they just all hate change. the things they hate about FB wouldn't be a problem in G+

      • abobobilly

        Problem with Klyph is that it tries to copy the G+ UI but fails. The UI is not fluid and there are quite a few bugs, glitches and performance issues.

        • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

          I really like Klyph ad use it daily as my main FB app. But it has glitches, that's true. I guess a lot of that is caused by FB API.

      • Lou_Sasshole

        Klyph is fantastic but it drains my battery for some reason, I have no idea why.

  • LockesKidney

    They've also changed the way you view pictures added to album which is kinda cool

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    iOS gets a snazzy looking app and we are still looking at this old trash? WTF

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Just goes to show how important iOS is in the grand scheme of things. As for Facebook, I think they're lazy on the Android side because of the plethora of hardware running Android, they just don't want to bother. :/

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        Must be that... 4.0 came out in 2011 and we are almost in 2014 and we still haven't gotten a native UI, iOS 7 comes out and on the same god damn day they get a new looking UI.

        • Abhijeet Mishra

          Yeah. Heck, even Google updated apps like Chrome and Translate on the first couple of days after release, and just other apps in general. Android may have the market share, but that's not a great help in such things.

      • jak_341

        Yep. In the app world, iOS is king. We are still 2nd class citizens.

      • Matthew Fry

        If you recall, they made a poor decision and rewrote the Facebook app using HTML5. It was ridiculously slow. They then rewrote it again as a native app. They certainly have been doing stuff. It just so happens that they've redone the same thing 3 times.

      • Fitzelgard Allan Gerard

        Don't forget the fact that Apple pays them a buckload due to the fact that they have the integrated Facebook API into their OS. I can see why FB would prioritize them over Android.

  • The_Chlero

    The "new" menu button in the upper right-hand corner was there before the UI overhaul in the early 2013. In fact, the "new" interface makes a lot more akin to the 2011-2012 Android Facebook App.

    • jake044

      I thought I remembered seeing that button on Android before.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

      +1 for me this news is fake / the tipster is dumb.

  • scottdouglasmahoney

    If you click the button in the right hand corner it is the sorting setting and selecting most recent made the post buttons appear again for me

  • gbyers72

    IOS gets native look.... WE WANT HOLO WE WANT HOLO!

    • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

      I would even accept it being ugly. But why the hell is it so slow on my dualcore phone? Dammit!

  • MahmoodBH

    Why they updated thier app for iOS 7 to look like iOS 7 apps ? It will be awesome if they update the app with new UI for Android

  • Slawootsky

    I hate gradients in an ActionBar of any app.

  • Dustin Maki

    Believe me everyone in the Beta Program is expressing there opinion on getting a Holo UI. Like literally every person in the Beta Program!! So IT well happen, at some point.

  • Mapekz

    May or may not be the next iteration. Chances are they are A/B testing things and will settle on the design that yields greater engagement.

  • Barend Stapelberg

    When will we see a tablet optimized app?

    • JensAstrup

      I find the lack of a tablet optimized version more annoying than anything else

    • Morten Ulveseth

      It's quite baffling that there is none.

      • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

        Haha.. signed up for that shit on day 1 and yet to see anything. In the meanwhile, I see FB trolling me by showing people who have the new news feed. And these are people who didn't even know about a new news feed, let alone signing up for it!

  • Chris Hutchinson

    I just pressed the "code generator" button and mine changed.

  • Henrique Melissopoulos

    They removed the pop-up of comments as well.

  • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman

    FYI - the top bar comes back when you start scrolling back to the top. You need to give it a bit of a fling, as a mere "wait what was that" scroll back a drop moment won't bring back the bar to cover the info you want to see effectively forcing you to scroll even more back up to pass the top bar (my annoyance with chromes auto-Hiding URL bar).

  • Stacey Liu

    Hmm it worked for me, and the "new" UI is much smoother on the News Feed. You don't get any jank while rapidly swiping to the bottom anymore.

    However, it's using the old comment layout, the one the app had years ago (and the one it uses right now for groups). So I don't think this is really a "new" UI. To be honest, it's worse, because everything has it's own page instead of overlays.

  • Guest

    Works in stable version too, not only beta. I would say this changes much. Looks more like 2011 version

  • Guest

    You can get it in a stable version too, not only beta.

    I would not say this changes much. Looks more like 2011 version

  • nebula

    I managed to get the design on my nexus 4. Still no (real) #holo and the ugly gradient in the top bar is still there.

  • jgfan1972

    I just checked my app and I have the 2 code generator entries.

  • Adrian O.

    I've got the new interface too, just by pressing the new Code Generator button.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Only thing I like about that UI is that it's a lot more compact. Like 1.5 times more stuff fits on in the same area.

  • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

    When I read the headline, I fervently hoped for "HOLO". Paint me darkly disappointed....

  • Steven A.

    It's pretty easy to replicate as long as the two code generators are there... HTC One

  • duse

    Still looks like shit. All the money in the world and they can't make a half-decent UI.

  • abobobilly

    Its been more than a year that i am "hoping" for facebook to do something about their horrendous looking UI on Android but apparently they just don't give a shit.

    Not only is the UI the problem but the major performance is also drastic. I have a i9000 which i am using since 3 years now and whenever i see apps like Google plus perform SUPREMELY, while looking RAVISHING, it makes me cry. Really.

    I have stopped using Facebook in my cell long time ago just because how colossal piece of shit this app is. Not only that, they still haven't given us a good Tablet Optimized app. While it performs OK on my Nexus 7, i still get turned off by its UI.

    I am currently joined in the BETA Testers of Facebook and this new app looks EXACTLY like the old one. Not only that, it performs EXACTLY like the old one. i.e. SHIT.

    Since i can't wait any longer, i would just deliver my message to Facebook with a huge "F*ck You FB" and call it even <_<

  • Carlos David

    Don´t like, how to come back?!

    • abobobilly

      Uninstall it and install the older version back from Play Store.

      However, if you are joined in the BETA Program by facebook then you'll only see the latest "beta" app in PlayStore. You'll have to leave the BETA Program to be able to get the older version back.

      You can search via Google to find out more about how to leave the BETA program (if needed).

      • Carlos David

        No need to do that, tap the second generate code button, then the first, then close app, then the "old-new" whatever UI in FB again.

        • abobobilly

          Oh i thought he has asking to go back to "Old App".

          My mistake.

          • Carlos David

            No worry, thanks for help.

  • squirtle

    I had Instagram style buttons appear at the bottom one time, wish I'd taken a screenshot, actually looked really good. All these changes appear to be on the backend though.

  • Justin Crowley

    i have the update...still havent found a way to post anything from the news feed

  • Justin Crowley

    if you click top stories or most recent, the status-photo--checkin bar re-appears

  • remister

    m.facebook.com is still the best Facebook Android app.

  • Gordon Lutz

    I can get that change on mine, but I don't see how its any good.
    You can't swipe/open contact list, so that's definitely not good.
    Unless I'm missing something.

  • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

    hope we don't crash FB's servers with this leak... cough cough

  • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

    Not much changed really. Here are few screenshots from my device.


  • Dave Molina

    the "most recent" filtering is fixed in the current beta version 3.7 - I don't have it reverting back to the Top Stories setting anymore on my GSM GNex

  • PC

    Just got an update to the Facebook android app with one "code generator" under "settings". Brings a slightly altered UI but really changes things under the hood. Everything loads super fast and scrolling is smooth as butter. Literally iPhone smooth scrolling. Hopefully this comes to the normal app soon. Took you long enough Facebook!

  • The_Chlero

    The relase of the iOS 7 show us how strong is Apple with their directives. They FORCE to the developers of third party apps to follow the guidelines of design for publishing their apps on the AppStore, if they fail in something, bang!!, the apps is not passed, banned or erased from the AppStore.

    In the other hand, Google just "recommends" how to design their apps. Its not the same thing. if they recommends you, it means that you can design your app the hell the way you want, and they will still publish your app if not violates one of their top guidelines, otherwise its OK. In fact, Google dont have a policy for Quality Assurance because many apps in the Play Store has so many glitches that it looks like they are there just for fun or like a science project from a 8 year-old boy.

    This results in that all the app for Android dont follow a design dont have a quality control and thus many apps are and behave like garbage.

    Google is very soft with developers, Google needs to man up and FORCE guidelines and set a QA department capable of reject apps with low standards. They need to set standards for quality in order for us, the users, be able to enjoy top quality apps.

    The open nature of the system is not excuse for all the above because the Play Store is a closed enviroment.

    • David

      I believe google should be more aggressive with accepting new apps to its store; and it should encourage developers to follow its design guidelines and award those who do (by placing their apps in front of users or something like that, does not need to be just money)

      The fake BBM apps in addition to million of apps that look and function like garbage are not going to encourage users to download them and use them. At the end, most of the time I am using my smartphone, I am using a 3rd party app.

      I got sad when I saw most the important apps rush to follow apple's new design following ios 7.

      Why do not we, android users, have the developers rushing to follow google design guidelines? Not enough motivation, hard guidelines, ... Google must think thise issue through ASAP

  • Matthew Bohr

    Has happened previously with prior versions. Seems to be a bug, possibly. I could duplicate on mine as well.

  • James Mercer

    As long as I can set it so the default is "recent stories" without it resetting to "Top stories" every damn time.

  • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman

    And just like that its gone

  • Dhaval Yoganandi

    They should concentrate on Tablet UI too.

  • Pratik Holla

    Its frustrating to see a comapany as large as Facebook shunning design guidelines for an OS that suppoorts 900 milllion phones. Small time developers are churning out beautiful apps but a Billion dollar company cannot? Its a crying shame

    Dont understand what could be going thorough Zuckerberg's head. iOS 7 gets a complete refresh a day after iOS 7 but we haven't recieved a Holo makeover in 3 years. Instead, they are wasting time with the garbage they call facebook home.

  • sushant saraswat

    Hi Jeremiah, Nice post. Thanks for sharing. There will be many more branded apps undergoing design changes as we are in the middle of a highly demanding and competitive environment, wherein the form factors, the operating systems and the customer requirements are evolving rapidly. Companies are faced with the herculean task of keeping pace with these changes as they innovate at the “customer-facing edge”. There is a compelling need for an adaptive mobile app that rapidly tunes to the changing seasons and business scenarios of the company.

    And this is precisely where dynamic updation of themes in the mobile app comes to the rescue. Updating dynamically will increase user engagement and also save time and resources by eliminating the need to develop a new version of an app for publishing new themes. You might be interested in a webinar on Implementing Dynamic themes in your mobile applications - http://j.mp/18ahxYX

  • http://www.lcpint.com/ Lorenzo Cascio Palmieri

    Also it added the function to edit comments... I am a FB tester.