Facebook Smartphone Updates Make It Easier To Find Friends

Facebook has released updates to their Android and iPhone apps that make it easier to find friends. The apps use email addresses in the phone’s contacts to search for potential friends who are on Facebook and then presents them to you in a list. In the list you see the person’s profile picture, name, and email address, with an Add button that you can tap to send them a friend request. Any contacts that are not already on Facebook are then presented in a list with an Invite button, which creates an email to them inviting them to join Facebook.

The process for finding friends is more obvious in the Android version of Facebook than the iPhone. In the pictures below you see the buttons you need to press in the two apps to start the process, with Find Friends being very obvious in Android, which is on the left, while the option is hidden in the sharing button on the iPhone, which is shown on the right.

I am puzzled by how the Facebook apps actually find friends. At least on my Android phone it presents people who are not in my phone’s contacts. It appears to me that the app may be using email information on my phone, or is somehow finding related email addresses from my contacts. The behavior is different on my Nexus One and iPod Touch, while both have the same contacts list, the Android app found 87 contacts while the iPhone only found nine.

The update to the Android version of the Facebook app also includes the ability to tag friends in status updates. To tag a friend enter the at (@) sign, then start typing your friend’s name. A drop-down appears with the friends names that contain the letters you type, which then can tap to select. Finally, the Android Facebook app also allows you to add a phone number to your Facebook profile.