Facebook has released an update to its Android app today that should give users of the social network on Android devices a more integrated and instant experience — and takes Facebook another step closer to making its mobile app experience more like the one people have when using the social network on the web.
Specifically, the new version lets users share photos and messages direct from the home screen of their devices, and it includes several features that had been in the standalone Messenger app.
Facebook for Android 1.9, according to a blog post from Facebook software engineer Frank Qixing Du, also integrates several features that had been in Facebook’s separate Messenger app. These include the ability to see when your friends are online or on their mobile devices; the ability to add people to a group conversation; and a more intelligent contact list, sorting it by the people you interact with most.
After updating the app, camera shortcuts and messaging shortcuts will also appear in your Android app tray, as shortcuts separate from the Facebook app itself:
As before, you will also be able to upload photos, track what your friends are uploading and writing, and look up the phone numbers of your contacts.
So far, the reviews in the Google Play app store have been mixed. On the minus side, several are pointing out that there is now some confusion between Facebook’s Camera and Messenger apps, and those that users would have already had — the native Android apps. Also these new additions take up extra space for now. On the plus side, there’s strong praise for the new design and better Messenger integration.
Check out the reviews and the app itself in Google Play.