Proper beta testing with a feedback network to help squash bugs and improve performance

Facebook has had a rocky past of questionable app quality and a couple instances of side-stepping Play Store guidelines for updates, but the social network is hoping to correct some of those issues today by introducing a proper beta testing program for its app. In an effort to try and solve some of the issues associated with having an app that needs to be able to run on probably the widest range of hardware of any other app -- from the cheapest unlocked device in the developing world up to the Galaxy S4 -- Facebook will now enlist the help of beta testers to flush out bugs.

Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook will use Google's newly created beta testing feature tied to Google Groups, which it introduced at Google I/O this year. The process will be pretty simple -- just join the Google Group that Facebook has set up for its app beta testing, opt-in to the test and go download the latest version of the app from the Play Store. Further discussion about new versions and associated bugs will continue in a specialized Facebook group, where beta testers will have the ability to discuss issues directly with the developers.

This is a far cry from anything Facebook has done previously in terms of beta testing or public development of its app, and we have to give them the nod of approval assuming everything goes according to plan. Head to the source links below to learn more about the program details and join the group.

Source: Facebook; Facebook Android Beta Testing Group

More: Facebook for Android Beta Testers (Facebook Group)

There are 27 comments

Eerth says:

Interesting! The Facebook app does have a lot of room for improvements (it's so bad).

matthwo8 says:

I signed up but how do you get the beta version of the app. I cant find where it says in market to be a beta tester?

As the steps show in the Google Group, you simply sign up to be a beta tester, then go to the Play Store (from the link it provides) and hit "install" and it'll install the beta version right over top the regular version. From there on out you'll receive updates on the beta track.

furrba11 says:

I joined the beta testing program and overnight it's bumped up to version 3.4 but i'm not sure if that's a proper update or a beta update, I'll sit back and see what happens it just be that beta versions aren't on my Google Play yet. Will be interesting to see what they do with it anyway.

I beg Facebook to optimize their FB app for Android tablet! It looks absolutely ugly on my Nexus 10! It's like a over sized phone app!! I hope the next update fix this issue..

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JobiWan144 says:

It _is_ an oversized phone app.

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only difference so far I see is able to swipe left to right instead of hitting the menu to bring the newsfeed, messaging, etc..

Ika Saputra says:

helo peminim

Love Divine says:

The app is terrible - big cause of battery drain with constant background refreshing. Hopefully this is the first step in the right direction.

I guess I have the wrong attitude. Don't get me wrong - I have helped beta test other apps - all in the name of helping the Android community. But why do I feel disgusted that Facebook wants free assistance to help them improve their app - especially given their initial lack of interest in Android.

Darth Mo says:

It was initially quite an undertaking to develop for early Android given the wide differences in hardware vs the total number of handsets out there. There were numerous popular apps out there that were on IOS for years making it to Android for that very same reason.

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Achillesheel says:

I can't seem to locate a way to exit a beta group. Can someone help me out?

mr.pesh74 says:

If you followed the group on Facebook just go to the group profile and click on 'leave group'.

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mr.pesh74 says:

I downloaded it and it works great but it uses 97-113 mb of RAM? Why is the question I have. Otherwise it's excellent.... So far.

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LavallavaL says:

Facebook can take a hike, so can Google+. I don't feel a need for the world + dog to know what's up with me and my personal life. Google already knows too much because I have a bloody Android phone. My boss, customers and undesirable acquaintances do not know much about me and my private life, and that's just fine and dandy as it is.

wsmather says:

Gotta say I'm starting to feel the same way. Privacy is eroding so fast, why help the process along?

matthwo8 says:

So how do you really feel? Wait, is that to personal?

Klubhead says:

What is the version number?

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DarkNeo says:

3.4 is the beta

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megerber says:

I'm on 3.5

matthwo8 says:

So what happened to facebook home? That was a huge deal that has seem to die quick

hcamposjr7 says:

it works well for me so far on my gs4 (t-mobile)

Destroyer_7 says:

Working fine for me (AT&T htc one )

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Liz Williges says:

To join the Beta program, follow these steps:

1) Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers Google group
2) Allow beta downloads by clicking Become a Tester in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester): https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.facebook.katana/
3) Click 'Download Facebook from the Play Store' to update your app: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.facebook.katana/
4) Join the Facebook for Android Beta Testers group on Facebook to tell us what you think: https://www.facebook.com/groups/androidbetatesters/

Nothing at all

Need new Facebook app for Android phone