Facebook, the free social networking site, is undoubtedly one of the biggest success stories of the past few years. To go from a college project to a billion dollar company in stupendously quick time is something worth applauding. Despite many unpopular redesigns – no more so than the most recent TimeLine change – it keeps going from strength to strength. But, there’s always been one problem with Facebook – the mobile app.
Yes, it’s free, and why should I complain about a free service? Simply put: I don’t see it as free. They may not charge me any real money for the service, but they know absolutely everything about me. They know my name, address, where and when I was born, who I’m related to, what I enjoy doing, which sports teams I follow. They get to know me, in exchange for the service, and can target ads directly to suit my needs. And, just because you don’t directly pay them anything, don’t be fooled in to thinking that you don’t make them a lot of money.
The iOS app is, and always has been, woeful. I’ve never had issue with the look, or design of the app. It’s the unreliability that I can’t stand. Telling me I have new notifications, but then not showing me them when I click on the app. Or, indicating that I have new messages, when they’re all ones I’ve read days, weeks or even months ago. In fact, my complaints against the app has always been about notifications. They just don’t work properly.
My other gripe: speed (or lack of it). Everything just seems to take so long to load up. Click the notifications sign and see a blank screen for 10 seconds before it tells you there’s a connection problem. “:-( Try Again Later” doesn’t cut it with me. I know I have signal, and a secure connection. I can load twitter fine, as well as my browser and anything else that requires some sort of link to the internet. Not my Facebook app though. Nope. It does whatever the heck it likes and says “Hey, I’m free, stop complaining. See that awesome Cover Pic, I gave you that option for nothing. Quit your whining.” I say it’s not good enough.
The sad thing is, that although there are third party alternatives, none of them are as aesthetically pleasing. Particularly on the iPad. They’re cumbersome, and often over crowded, trying to fit absolutely everything on screen at once. Kinda like when you move to a smaller house/apartment and try and fit in all the same furniture in to a tinier space.
It just needs to be a much more consistent, fast and reliable service. Notifications should come instantly, and link you directly, and quickly to the right content. In short: it needs to be better.
What do you think? Are you as frustrated with the Facebook app as I am? Let me know your thoughts.