August 22, 2012

Breaking Things, But Moving Slow

Nick Bilton has published a good read about how Facebook's actions--or in actions, have gone against some of the things Mark Zuckerberg's famous "Hacker Way" letter said when  Facebook filed for it's IPO. Bilton gives a great gist what it entails so I'm not going to rehash. I am rather going to focus on Facebook's pathetic iPhone app as going against all things in the hacker way.
The article also echoed some thoughts I've had, and been having about Facebook recently. 
One of the hacker ways Mark talked about was, "move fast and break things".
Well, they've surely been breaking things but not as a result of moving fast. (And moving fast here means iterating and shipping new releases).

First and foremost Facebook sucks at mobile. Period. There's no sugarcoating that. It's hard to think that with all the talk about them focusing on mobile, the desktop Facebook experience still trumps and annihilates that of the mobile app experience--Five years into the iPhone's existence. Sad.

The app is not only slow, it's horribly designed. It looks like they took the mobile site, brushed it up, and wrapped it around HTML5 and called it a day. You're better off going to, or better yet using the full blown website on your iPhone. At least it'll be faster, and you'll get the desktop experience you've become accustomed to.

It's also hard to digest, that a company such as Facebook with all the design and engineering talent at their their disposal can release such crap. It's the most downloaded app in the app store by the way. Of all time. In the history of the app store. That's a pretty remarkable title to have, and releasing a joke of an app makes it more disappointing. The last time the app was updated was back in April, 2012. In the mobile app world that's more like a year.

"Keep shipping", remember?

The most recent update brought improved search, bookmarked groups and navigation. Although nice, they didn't add any improvement to the overall experience of the app, and definitely didn't make it faster--Where it's lacking. There have been reports of Facebook releasing a much faster and native iOS app, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Facebook, for me now, is used as a publishing medium for my Tumblr and Path updates--which doesn't require me to use the app. I've mostly been using it for responding to messages from friends, which has actually made the Facebook Messenger app a must-have, rather. It's fast and well designed, and it runs more like a native app. Profile photos of friends in the app are just the right size and the notification bar alerts you when you receive a message, when you're in another conversation. Its no secret the Messenger app has 4 1/2 stars whiles the lackluster Facebook app has a disgraceful 2-star rating. And a sea of unhappy users. It's a "monstrosity of a failure" like Jenn1127 said.

Sometimes I wonder how a company can release multiple apps and make one shitty and the other near-perfect. Just like Google's Search and Blogger app. Search is perfect, but the Blogger app seems like it was designed by someone in kindergarten. Not to stray away from the topic, but these are very similar cases.

I have always hoped that Facebook would purchase Path, use their app as the default Facebook app, and delete theirs completely from their servers. Completely.
I wont write them offer just yet. If this supposedly new, native and fast app debuts and looks anything like their existing app, that's when the obituary will start.

Sent with Writer, from Ed's iPhone

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