How Does Facebook Improve Its Mobile Apps?

By Justin Lafferty 

Earlier this week, Facebook released an update for its iOS application, integrating popular features from the stand-alone Camera and Messenger apps. On Friday, the site’s engineering team shared how they use these apps to see what shutterbugs and messaging mavens like best before they tweak the main app.

Over the past few months — as Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco — the company has shifted the way it looks at mobile. Instead of having a core mobile team, each sector is responsible for ensuring an excellent mobile experience. By having each department focus on mobile, it allows a more cohesive approach.

Facebook has promised more regular updates for its Apple and Android apps.

Michael Eyal Sharon, a product manager at Facebook, wrote about how the stand-alone Messenger and Camera apps are used as testers to improve the native Facebook app:

Apps like Messenger and Camera let us push the envelope with specific features and allow us to get feedback from specific audiences like photo experts and hardcore messaging users. The highly engaged users of these apps are a great proving ground for next-generation features that are refined and tweaked in the stand-alone apps before potentially making a debut in the core app.

Having a single team own the product experience in their stand-alone apps, as well as the integrated experience in the core app, means that we have more thoughtfully executed experiences across platforms and applications.

We can do this kind of fast, adaptive sharing across apps because we’ve retooled our mobile development process with a focus on native code and timed release cycles.

Readers: Have the mobile Facebook apps improved recently? What other ideas do you have?