Facebook Gets UPGRADED

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has released a major upgrade for its iPhone and iPad apps with a focus on speed and efficiency. The changes are designed to make a user’s news feed and photographs appear twice faster and set up in a way that complete photo albums load with a single finger swipe.

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“We’ve rebuilt the app from the ground up, so now the app opens much faster and your news feed and notifications load right when you open Facebook,” the company’s product manager, Mick Johnson, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

The changes are a reaction to the immense criticism Facebook has faced in recent months regarding its mobile presence. While the social network’s mobile version is getting increasingly popular, with 488 million of the social network’s 955 million users accessing the website through their mobile devices in March, the app only gets a two-star rating out of five in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store.

The new apps don’t look much different from their predecessors, but one key visual change comes in the older photo and messaging tools, which have been replaced by the code from Facebook’s stand-alone Camera and Messenger apps. The news feed is now also updated in real time, with “likes” and comments showing up without the user having to refresh the post.

“You’re sort of data snacking throughout the day,” Cory Ondrejka, Facebook’s head of mobile engineering, told The New York Times. “When you’re just standing in line getting coffee and you pull out your Facebook app, you just want it to load.”

The social network has replaced its entire web-based code with native programming code used for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, NYT said. The Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android version of the app is also expected to release soon.

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