Facebook has updated their Android app, bringing a host of improvements and a new user interface. The new UI brings the Android application in line with what is been offered on iOS and the iPhone. You get an expandable menu on the left, which includes quick-links to your favorites, pages (finally), apps, lists etc. — similar to the functionality offered in the left sidebar on Facebook’s desktop website.
You also get an overlay messages box, so that you can check and respond to messages without having to leave the current page. Facebook is claiming the the new app loads photos and albums faster and so far in testing the app we can confirm that. Nevertheless the entire app continues to feel sluggish and sometimes it takes a number of tries for a page to load.
Some were expecting for the new app to enable contact syncing on the Galaxy Nexus and Android Ice Cream Sandwich (especially since a render of the phone was used in marketing the app as you see above), but as we’ve tested this is not the case — going to ‘Accounts & Sync’ and selecting Facebook does nothing. Google found that Facebook was in violation of their terms of service (TOS) on the way user contact data was handled and had pushed an update on the Nexus S disabling syncing of contacts. The Galaxy Nexus, as Google’s latest lead device, also has this function disabled.
We’re not sure if indeed the new app is now compliant to the TOS and it’s now left on Google to re-enable syncing on their end. We’ve reached out to Facebook on this but haven’t yet heard back. For now, the only workaround is to download and use the FriendCaster app for syncing.