Facebook has announced a new beta testing program for its Android app, as well as a new faster release cycle. The program is designed to help the social network catch and repair bugs in its mobile apps as quickly as possible.
Ewan Spence with Forbes reported, “Facebook has opened up a beta program for the Android client app. Users will have access to test builds of the app and asked to provide comments and feedback before the code is added to the stable release version. More importantly for the app’s development, Facebook are moving to a four-weekly release cycle. This should allow for more tweaks and optimisation to be measured on a public audience, without exposing the changes to the millions of regular users.”
FierceMobileContent quoted Facebook’s Ragavan Srinivasan who said, “This will give us the opportunity to eliminate our blind spots and identify a snapshot of the diversity of use cases to test our apps so when we push to our whole user base, everyone has a better experience. Whether someone is using [Android] Gingerbread or Jelly Bean, more complete testing coverage gives us the opportunity to make sure more people can access a stable, high-performance Facebook.”
PCMag’s Chloe Albanesius noted, “Anyone with an Android device – whether it’s running Gingerbread or Jelly Bean – can join the program, starting today, by opting in to the Facebook for Android Beta Testers Google group. Facebook will then release ‘a small batch of fixes and new features every month.’ Just use the app as you normally would, but report any bugs you encounter to the Facebook team.”
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine observed, “Beyond bugs, the program could also let Facebook twiddle backend knobs and front-end designs with a smaller audience to ensure changes have the expected and desired effect. [Facebook’s Mike} Shaver admitted this might tip Facebook’s hand as to what’s coming next for everyone, but said it was worth it to make sure that what he calls ‘the most widely used and widely installed application on Android’ isn’t broken.”