The latest version of the popular native Android mobile app, Facebook for Android v1.6, lets users browse Page walls, upload videos to Facebook, and see more types of stories in the news feed. The app now matches Facebook for iPhone’s video capability, though it still has a much more limited interface for Pages.
Facebook for Android has seen strong growth in the past month, even compared to other fast-growing official clients. It gained three million more daily active users to reach 29.5 million DAU. This growth slightly outpaces that of Facebook for iPhone, which grew 2.4 million DAU in the same time period despite a larger existing base. The Android app is still lacking features including photo tagging, Facebook Checkin Deals, and the ability to search for Pages that the iPhone app has.
The deficiency in features could account for why the Facebook for Android’s DAU by monthly active users, or stickiness is declining as it grows in user count, while the iPhone’s stickyness is rising.
With this release, users can tap the names of Pages in the news feed to view that Page and read all of its updates. This shouldn’t significantly boost impressions of Facebook Pages as very few impressions occur on Page walls compared to the news feed where Android users could already see updates.
However, there’s still no way to search for Pages on the Android app. As of this week, users can open the mobile browser and search on m.facebook.com for Pages using a typeahead. It’s not clear how a possible Facebook HTML5-based mobile platform might be integrated in Android.
Users can click the camera options next to the news feed publisher to reveal the option to upload a video. This could lead to general increase in the presence of mobile video in the news feed. Videos are currently buried as a secondary tab of the Photos product, but Facebook may look to make them more prominent as more devices and interfaces allow them to be recorded and uploaded.
The news feed can now display a wider variety of rich feed stories, and open them within the app.
The v1.6 update’s video uploading capability is a step in the right direction, but its needs to keep ahead of m.facebook.com. Therefore, adding functionality that the mobile site has that it lacks might be more important than trying to match the iPhone app.