Social freak? Facebook addict? Networking Junkie? Whatever you’re label when it comes to your Facebook addiction, one thing is the same for everyone…Facebook on your Blackberry is a MUST! For many of use, we have envied the iPhone users and their Facebook application, as well as, here recently, the Androids application. For us Blackberry users, Facebook has always been somewhat lack-luster! Never fear, however! RIM has come to our rescue. Blackberry Beta zone is now offering up downloads of the new Facebook 2.0 application! I must say, they have done a fantastic job, and made huge strides, in catching up to the iPhone and Droid (both on the Facebook app, and as a smartphone in general).
The first thing you are presented with when you launch the FaceBook application is your News Feed. From here you can see at a top level what your friends are doing, as well as update your FaceBook status. The layout seems to be pretty flowing. The plus sign, attached to each post, lets you Like and Comment on each one of these. It is a very nice modification to the New Feeds.
From this page, the typical place you’ll want to start is the main menu. If you trackpad up to the Facebook button (with the down arrow) in the top left corner, you’ll get to be presented with the main menu. From here you will be able to navigate to your News Feed, view your profile (no editing rights that I can see as of yet), show all your notifications, search your friends or FaceBook in general, read messages between you and other users, view your friends, use the FaceBook chat that used to require a dedicated (and sometimes premium) app, check into places (we finally have it), view your Photo Albums (and upload photos), and edit your FaceBook App Options (this one is on down the screen and not part of the shot). The menu is very similar to the iPhone menu, and is a nice refreshing view when compared to older versions of the BlackBerry FaceBook App.
The first area we will look at is the Profile view. This view is personalized to you, and allows you to quickly access your profile page. You may view your Wall posts, update your status, view your personal info, and to view Photos that you have uploaded. I don’t personally use this view often, but it was still a nice clean up to the old view. I think I can safely say that many users of this app will find it a welcoming upgrade.
The Messages view doesn’t offer much of a difference. The view here is much cleaner, a view befitting a smartphone, and has a little more organization to it. Individual message views themselves are also similar to older versions of the FaceBook app, with simply a cleaner interface.
Rejoice! It is finally here! We now have the ability to use FaceBook chat WITHIN the FaceBook application. No more using buggy applications or paying for premiums. Simply Enable chat (can be disabled through the Berry Menu) and the application will load all your friends that are logged in. The chat almost reminds me of using BBM, or even the new form of text messaging in OS5 and higher. Having chat enabled throughout the entire day doesn’t appear to have much of a battery drain on my Berry. I think I might have noticed a 0.2% increase from my daily average. Naturally results in this area will vary, but it seems RIM put a lot of thought into battery life when designing the Chat feature.
Out of all of the additions to the new Facebook, this one I have been waiting on for some time. I am an avid user of FourSquare and I have been full of envy when I see my fellow FaceBook users check into places via their iPhones. The feature accesses your GPS location and loads places that are nearby. You can scroll through the list of what was located, or search for your place if it does not appear on the list.
Once you have selected your place, you are presented with the actual check in screen for that place. You have the options of telling what you are doing there, as well as tagging any of your friends that are with you. Once you have filled this out with whatever information you have chosen to provide, you can click the Check In button and let your entire social circle know where to find you.
Overall, I am very pleased with the work RIM has done to the application. I am hopeful that there will be more feature additions in future releases. Thus far, I have not noticed any bugs within the application. I have had no Java errors, phone crashes, excessive freezing, nor abnormal battery drains. My only jive with the application, and it could be more of a Verizon issue and less of an application issue, is that it can sometimes take a long time to load information within each view. This could be attributed to many things, most of which are problems that are NOT caused by bugs within the application.
If you have downloaded the application from the Beta Zone, I would be very interested in hearing what your experiences. What do you like, dislike, or what would you change/add?