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Issue 6.6


FaceBook for iPhone

Issue: 6.6 (September/October 2008)
Author: Dave Mancuso
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,804
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 6603
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Full text of article...

I've never taken to social networking websites easily. Xanga has come and gone, MySpace came and largely stayed, but FaceBook has (so far) shown the most staying power of its brethren. A few months ago I revisited my (year old) FaceBook page and made a commitment to keep it alive and active.

That commitment fell victim to the pressures of real life. I got emails once in a while that people had written on my FaceBook "Wall," but my replies were fairly sparse. Desktop applications work much more fluidly for me than website "applications", and FaceBook was essentially a website application.

Enter the FaceBook iPhone application.

I found FaceBook for iPhone on the iTunes store and downloaded it out of curiosity. I thought it would be a watered-down version of the website. I was wrong. The FaceBook developers took the chance to make their iPhone product a full featured application, one that gets to the heart of their website product's main draws.

The FaceBook application (beginning with its second update) takes you straight to your FaceBook web presence. It displays for you your Inbox, your "Wall," your FaceBook RSS Mini-Feed, and any photos you keep on your FaceBook site. Your Wall is where your friends can post notes to you. They can see each other's notes on your Wall, so it becomes somewhat of a group chat. Your Mini-Feed is an RSS feed that you can post to from FaceBook, although you can tie it to other services for updates. For instance, many users have their Twitter feed automatically update their FaceBook RSS Mini-Feed.

You don't just get access to your own information, though. FaceBook for iPhone gives you access to all of your friends too--their Walls, photos, and Mini-Feeds. You can even do instant chats with other FaceBook users who are logged in.

The full FaceBook website offers more frills then FaceBook for iPhone, including custom FaceBook applications, but the iPhone application connects you with people, the heart of this social networking site.

The real key to this iPhone application is its fluid interface. It's always easy to tell what FaceBook areas and features you're using. It's easy to move to different friends and their feeds or Walls. It works well for thick thumbs and fumble fingers too. It's frankly a joy to use. I use the iPhone application much more often than the FaceBook website. It offers the main things I use Facebook for, with a more application-like feel than a website.

It's not often that a "secondary" application rivals the main product it's supposed to complement. FaceBook for iPhone does this ably, in its first version. The developers have proven that interface has become at least as important as feature set.

End of article.