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First Look: Facebook 3.0

by Ian
August 18, 2009


Joe Hewitt, the developer behind the iPhone version of Facebook, just graced my inbox with a copy of the Facebook 3.0 app he submitted to the App Store. It feels more like the full Facebook than ever before and the whole interface is cleaner, snappier and much more bug-free, though there's still a few things you can't do with it. Below is the list of features in 3.0 Hewitt shared earlier this summer followed by my initial impressions. photo-7 1. The "new" News Feed The news feed now matches what I see on the full Web-based version, so I no longer have to look at all those poor saps I've hidden when I browse Facebook for iPhone. Though there's still no ability to hide/unhide people while inside the app. 2. Like Works just as you would expect it to. Though Facebook as a whole needs to fix the notification system so you don't receive a bunch of notifications after liking something from people you don't know. At least make it optional. Hewitt has already said he's started on version 3.1, which should be focused on Push Notifications. My hope is Push Notifications are implemented in a very robust and customizable way. In other words, users should have the ability to toggle whether a text alert is sent out when someone comments on something I've liked. The same is true for wall posts, messages, etc. 3. Events (including the ability to RSVP) Yes, but no access to an event's wall. 4. Notes Yes, with the ability to edit. Though no ability to tag people in notes, which is arguably a good thing as it ensures some folks won't be tagging people who aren't actually in their notes. You know who you are. 5. Pages Yes! You can now see and fully interact with pages. You can also add them to the new home screen, but read on for more on that. 6. Create new photo albums - Yes. 7. Upload photos to any album - Yes. 8. Zoom into photos - Yes. 9. Easier photo tagging - Yes, awesome. 10. Profile Pictures albums - Yes. 11. A new home screen for easy access to all your stuff, search, and notifications This is probably the biggest and coolest addition to Facebook 3.0, though it has one critical flaw in the current release. The home screen features 9 default boxes as seen in the first screenshot above. You can add fan pages and people to additional pages of the home screen. It works very much like the iPhone home screen. Unfortunately, once you add something to these pages you can't move or delete it. You have to delete and reinstall the whole Facebook app to start with a fresh home screen. You also can't replace one of those 9 default boxes on the first page with something else. UPDATE: You can remove things from your favorites, but you cannot move them. I can see this as being the biggest frustration people will have with Facebook 3.0. I've already asked Hewitt about it and he said full editing of the home screen is planned for the 3.1 update. 12. Add your favorite profiles and pages to the home screen - Yes, see above. 13. Better Notifications (they link to the comments so you can reply) - Finally, yes! 14. Quickly call or text people right from the Friends page Yes. More people need to enter contact information into Facebook, but I was surprised by the decent number of friends who already had phone numbers in their profiles. 15. Messages you are typing will be restored if you quit or are interrupted by a phone call - Yes. Other additions of note: photo-6 Video uploading from an iPhone 3GS. Hewitt said he didn't plan to include this feature in the 3.0 release but was surprised by how easy it was to implement and, sure enough, video uploads work great. But you still can't play Facebook videos on iPhone. When you try to play the video you get an alert stating "Facebook Video can not yet be played on this device." I'm sure it's in Facebook's best interests to encode Quicktime versions of their videos the same way Youtube does. According to Insidefacebook, there are nearly 12 million monthly active users of the iPhone Facebook app. That means the iPhone is too big a video platform to ignore. Perhaps this pop-up is just temporary? Please, Facebook, it's time to get down with the Quicktime. Youtube videos, on the other hand, play perfectly inside the Facebook app. When you're done watching a video you're still inside Facebook. Here's hoping for a quick approval from Apple for Facebook 3.0. We'll let you know on AppAdvice and on Twitter as soon as it goes live. If the anticipation isn't already killing you, Hewitt also posted the "What's New" text as it will appear on the App Store: - See your upcoming Events and RSVP - See your friends' birthdays - See Pages and post updates and photos to Pages you administer - Write Notes and read your friends' Notes - Upload videos from an iPhone 3GS - Upload photos to any album - Complete photo management (create albums, delete albums, delete photos, delete photo tags) - Change your Profile Picture - Zoom into photos - Like posts and photos - See the same News Feed as the Facebook website - Visit links in a built-in web browser - See all of your friends' friends and Pages - See mutual friends - Easily search for people and Pages - Make friend requests - Become a fan of Pages - Quickly call or text your friends - Create shortcuts to your favorite friends and Pages - Friends sorted by first or last name according to your settings - Chat friends sorted alphabeticaly

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