For a very long time, the Facebook app on Android was atrocious, and it's still not great. The folks at Facebook are trying, though. After starting a Play Store beta program not long ago, the social network is now setting up an alpha channel to test the newest (and potentially most unstable) features. Want in?

2013-10-13 23_45_14-Facebook for Android Alpha Testers - Google Groups

The alpha program will be run in a very similar way to the beta program. You'll have to sign up for the Play Store testing program and the app will update as new builds are released. According to Facebook, the alpha version of the app will be getting multiple new builds each week, and not all of them will work correctly. Features will come and go, and there will be more than a few crashes and bugs.

It looks like those already in the beta simply need to join the alpha testing Google group to upgrade their status, but everyone else has to go through both steps. The full instructions and words of warning are on the Facebook site.

Note: If you are not a Facebook tester, you won't see the alpha signup page at the above link.

[Facebook – Thanks, Ronak Gandhi]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Jay T

    Tablet UI?

  • Joshua

    I'm already a beta tester. May as well give this a shot too.

  • brealorg

    If they remotly can get a Tablet-UI working then I will sign up in no time.

  • FadyMahfouz

    There's no Tablet UI yet but if you click on the comment on any post it will open them on a left popup which indicates that they're going to implement a Tablet UI anytime.

  • Mick Collingwood

    Even if you are a beta tester you need to opt in by visiting this link
    https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.facebook.katana/ after joining the alpha group.

  • sam

    Their current stable version is 3.7. The beta version is 3.8

    The alpha version I suppose will be 3.9 meaning just before version 4.0

    That version has to include a new Holo UI and a tablet optimized version. Otherwise, all these testing channels has little benefit to us.

    • Tomáš Petrík

      I would say that 3.9 is before 3.10 :P

      • Joe Pas



        • http://www.savvasdalkitsis.com Savvas Dalkitsis

          3.10.0 /= 3.1.0

          Software version numbers are not decimal numbers

          3.10.0 > 3.9.0

        • Tomáš Petrík

          Joe, have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_release_history
          Just a random example to prove that you're wrong and Savvas is right.

          • Joe Pas

            Oh. I didn't know that. Thanks!

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          The correct answer is...however FB wants it to be. Some developers do it in decimal form some just do versions as a string. Honestly FB can do it however they want. the only real way to know is to look back to see if that's how they have done it in the past (I didn't bother 'cause I didn't care) just thought I'd add some more fuel to the fire or end it...whichever

        • trickytree1984


    • Asimoalex

      Any screen shots?

    • anzensepp1987

      FB updated their iOS-app to match iOS7 visually right after the iOS7-release. Honestly, I don't think that something like this will ever happen to the Android-app.

      • Anthony Tyson

        Same with Twitter... You know... That "new" look they gave android...

        • J4kee

          BUT they gave us Holo at least. And they did very well!

          • Anthony Tyson

            With Very strong iOS influences

  • Viral

    I just downloaded the alpha, I haven't noticed too many changes yet but it does feel a lot faster than the beta app, albeit with jerkier animations.

  • David Marinangeli

    i think that i will test it. i see that on the tablets the pictures are resized, so i hope there'll be a Tablet version very soon.

  • CerealFTW

    Deleted mine a while ago. I prefer Twitter and g+, but its nice to see FB try to make the android app better(for once)

  • Ryuuie

    Tons of bugs, unstable, crashes all the time...

    So it's no different then the normal build of Facebook then? :v

  • Lalit Mali

    Why don't they just make a different app release as Facebook beta(like Chrome beta).
    i want to test the bleeding edge updates but I also want a stable app to fall back to when I really want to(or need to) use facebook.

    • sweenish

      You can always opt out of the beta.

      • Lalit Mali

        But I want to test the upcoming features too(Even alphas). And I can't get that through a single app.

        • sweenish

          That sounds like a personal problem, then.

        • jake044

          If they are any worthy features/updates, I'm sure AP will report on them. So, if the app gets too buggy for you, just opt out and when they release new features, opt back in.

  • Matthew Fry

    I'll stick to the beta, thanks.

  • selonmoi

    "Features will come and go, and there will be more than a few crashes and bugs."

    So, what's the difference between this alpha program and the standard Facebook updates, then?

  • Dhaval Yoganandi

    Are they going to optimize it for 10" tablets?

  • luke

    Someone please have the answer.....I can't opt out of alpha test....I left the group, clicked on leave test....uninstalled but still can only reinstall 3.9-dev

  • DarrenR

    I was in this, then did a wipe and tried a different rom, and now I cant get back in.

  • FWIW

    As of today
    Stable = 3.9
    Beta =