Daring users can now alpha test Facebook for Android — here’s how to sign up and participate

Developers have taken advantage of Google’s new Play Store feature that allows certain members to download different builds of an app, giving them an easy and pain-free way to facilitate beta updates for those who are brave enough to try them. Facebook was one of the first major proponents of this system, and now they’re taking things a step further — you can now be an alpha tester for the official Facebook for Android app!

Facebook Android app 1

Head of mobile release team Christian Legnitto announced the news, telling folks that their goal is to get feedback as early as possible. You’ll be treated to bleeding edge features and changes, though there are a couple of things you need to consider:

  • You may experience frequent changes to UI and features — something that’s there one day might not be there the next.
  • You should expect bugs, and lots of them. (Of course, you should expect bugs in beta and even stable, too.)

Legnitto mentions it’s “not for the faint of heart,” but Facebook wanted to give users a chance to participate in the earliest build stages to help shape future releases. Feedback will be crucial, of course, so don’t join up if you’re not interesting in submitting any.

With over 1 million daily active users from over 150 countries, the Facebook for Android beta-testing program has been successful in giving us the feedback necessary to make Facebook for Android more stable for users.

Our initial goals with the beta program were to expand our pool of testers and gain feedback across a more diverse set of devices. Our beta-testers currently use phones from over 50 manufacturers, run multiple versions of Android, and use our app in varying network conditions.

So how can you get in on it? It’s simple, really — just follow the following steps:

  1. Join the Facebook for Android Alpha Testers Google group
  2. Allow alpha downloads by clicking “Become a Tester” in the Play Store (you need to join the Google Group before becoming a tester)
  3. Download Facebook from the Play Store to update your app
  4. Turn on automatic updates (probably optional, but the app will be updated several times a week)
  5. Report problems and give us feedback by using the “Report a Problem” menu item

The Facebook alpha will take precedence over beta, so if you’re in beta you will instead be getting alpha. If you wish to leave alpha at any time, you can simply click the “Leave the test” link in the Google Play Store. Be sure to give it a try if you’re interested in seeing what Facebook is working on well ahead of time.

[via Facebook]

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  • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

    I don’t trust Facebook enough to go alpha. I’m part of their beta group, but with as bad as the Facebook development has been, I’d be scared they’d somehow introduce a huge memory leak or accidentally drop malware in there, or somehow manage to wipe my sdcard and brick my phone.

    I’ll stick with beta for now.

  • PhoenixP3K

    I like being on the edge but alpha builds is a bit much. On the beta side I’d say they have a new version at least once a week and that seems cool enough for me.

  • mlss

    Testing Fb beta is bad enough. I will pass on being an alpha tester.
    On a positive note the developers seem to finally be listening to there testers. For the longest time they ignored what we were telling them and kept releasing stuff that wasn’t ready for the public.

    I am glad they have finally started paying attention.

    • Lou_Sasshole

      Tell them to start following the holo guidelines!

  • Scott Stafford

    I’m Facebook free for a week or so and plan to stay that way.

  • Benjamin Mackie

    I just wish they would fix the tablet version of FB. Its so ugly and horrible. In fact, its non existant, they just make the phone version huge

  • DavidVarghese

    The already “stable” version of the Facebook app sucks… I can only imagine how worse an alpha build will be…

    • Doan

      What issues are you having? I use the beta, and have no stability issues on my GS3.

      • Nuno Guerreiro

        The only major problema that I have, is that I don’t get all notifications like it’s suppose to get on the web version… but that is a major problem that affects everyone that uses fb android app

  • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

    Those who do not wish to volunteer aren’t missing much. There’s nothing of note in the Alpha yet.. and I don’t expect to see anything of note in the future either. Its been a sorry-arse app since time began and will remain so forever. Might improve slightly in performance but that’s about it. And if you’re expecting a native Android-looking app, stop and save yourselves the later disappointment – its NOT gonna happen.

    • No_Nickname90

      I just want the ability to reply to people on pages instead of it looking like a comment. I hate having to go to the web version just to rant on someone’s reply.

      Or when someone rants on my comment and I want to go rant back at them. But I have to use that horrid web version. =.=