Facebook Android Apps Get Needed Love With New Messaging Updates

Improved Facebook apps for Android smartphones. Image: Facebook

Just a week ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was telling the world of the company's plans to keep improving its mobile apps. Today there are some concrete announcements from the company to back up that talk. This afternoon it said it is improving its main Android app and Facebook Messenger for Android.

An update to the Facebook Messenger app for Android will include a new sidebar that lists your Facebook friends; you can now swipe from the left of the screen to bring up the list. Facebook has also redesigned the chat window, making it easier to see which friend said what in group chats. The app brings in text messages as well, so that you can better integrate your texts and Facebook messages into the same list.

For those don't use the Messenger app on its own, there's also an update for the regular Facebook Android app. This doesn't appear to be the complete overhaul that Zuckerberg talked about last week, but there are some small tweaks, including fixes to the push notifications and photo selections. It also makes it easier to send messages within the app with a new design for conversations.

Facebook released a new app for Apple's iPhone and iPad a few weeks ago. It was a complete overhaul of the app's technology, making it much faster to use. Zuckerberg said that the change was needed; one of his biggest regrets was the way the old app was coded in HTML 5.

Facebook is expected to make similar changes to the Android app, which is also slow for users. It "will be ready when it is ready," Zuckerberg said last week at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference.

Facebook is also directly integrated into Apple's new iOS 6 operating system, which began rolling out Wdnesday. These new Android updates will be rolling out today through Google's Play Store.

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