Photo: Dylan Love
“If Facebook were built today, it would be a mobile app,” said James Pearce, head of Facebook mobile developer relations, in an interview with ReadWriteWeb.But Facebook’s mobile app is boring and clunky.
For a site with 488 million mobile monthly active users and with trends suggesting that more and more people care about their mobile experience, it’s worth addressing.
We hope that there are big updates in the future that are simply taking a while to make their way to users.
In the mean time, however, there are some problems.
- The app feels heavy and runs slow. Because it uses HTML5, the Facebook app caches data differently than other apps. It downloads all your Timeline data from scratch every time you fire it up. GigaOM goes into much more technical detail on why the mobile app runs so slowly right here.
- Photo uploads are no good. They’re slow and unintuitive. Why should we have to navigate to our profiles first before being presented with the option to upload a picture?
- Mobile revenue. Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out “Sponsored Stories” as a way to drive revenue by displaying ads based on what a user “likes.” But they’ve always struck us as tacky, and if you don’t “like” anything on Facebook (in the case of the author), they rarely appear. (This is less of a problem for the users and more of a problem for the company.)
Here’s the bottom line: Facebook was built in a dorm room in 2004, well before mobile would have been a consideration. As previously mentioned, Facebook’s own head of mobile developer relations said that “If Facebook were built today, it would be a mobile app.”
With the company’s IPO imminent, items as small as improving the mobile app can matter a lot.
In the mean time, we’re sticking to using Facebook on our computers.