Facebook’s Latest iPhone App Falls Behind

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The latest Facebook application update in iPhone is gathering a lot of negative reviews, from frustration to outright annoyance in their loyal users.

Released June 29, the 3.4.3 update to Facebook’siPhone appwas supposed to fix various bugs. But it seems to have done the opposite.

Since its debut, the latest version has picked up almost 19,000 one-star reviews in Apple’s App Store, with users complaining of crashes, freezes, slowness, a chat mode that doesn’t work, and a host of other issues.

Launched in 2008, Facebook’s iPhone app has proved popular and in the past garnered generally favorable reviews. But the new version is causing bad blood among the faithful.

Some analysts say Facebook has been ignoring its iPhone app as it’s been busy prepping a new mobile Web-based interface designed to run outside of the Apple Store, the Financial Times said.Dubbed “Project Spartan,”the new platform would be based on HTML5 and let devices like the iPhone andiPadaccess Facebook directly via mobileSafari.

The bad news doesn’t stop here. Facebook’s app glitches are happening at a time whenGoogle’s new Google+ service is generating buzz and pulling in members. The new social networkjust hit 20 million members, according to the latest data from ComScore.

The Google+ iPhone app itself recentlyreached the top of the chartsin Apple’s App store. However, the app has its own limitations, as it’s currently available only for the iPhone and doesn’t yet support the iPad or iPod Touch.

Responding to an e-mail from CNET, a Facebook representative acknowledged that the company has seen some bugs in version 3.4.3 of the iPhone app that lead to some performance issues. To address those issues, Facebook is pushing out a new version of the app (3.4.4), which should be available in the App Store soon, the rep added.

Analysts have been perplexed by Facebooks lack of an application for Apples iPad. About 5m people use third-party Facebook apps on the iPad, suggesting ample demand.

Facebook has never really done aggressive innovation around the [iPhone] app, said Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis inLondon, since its original release in 2008. There has always been that sense that it lagged behind the Facebook feature set. It got location, but it doesnt have any games.

Facebook have to get their act together and fix these bugs soon, else it would have to see a disappearance of users of the app atleast.

Sources: cnet.com, FT.com

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