Microsoft on Tuesday announced the Facebook for Windows Phone Beta app program. If you’re willing to help the company test the latest and greatest Facebook features coming to its mobile platform, you can grab the beta now from the Windows Phone Store.
Microsoft says Facebook for Windows Phone app is undergoing a “major redesign.” At the same time, the app is getting new features such as support for high-res photos, post sharing, and the Facebook Timeline. You can send bug reports, feature requests, and other feedback to Microsoft directly in the app (Settings => About) or by posting a Windows Phone Store review.
Here’s what you can expect if you join the program:
The beta app won’t show up in Store search results and is only available via the direct link above. This has two advantages: you can install the beta without losing the existing Facebook app (version 4.2.1) and users looking to install the stable version won’t grab the beta by accident.
For those who don’t know, Microsoft (just like BlackBerry) develops the Facebook app for its mobile platform. This is simply the reality of not being first or second in the mobile industry: Facebook and Twitter don’t want to build for your platform unless it’s Android or iOS.
Before Google came along and completely changed what the beta tag means, Microsoft was the king of beta programs. The company excelled (and arguably still does) at getting its users to help test software in exchange for trying out new features. Now the company apparently wants to do it all again in mobile.
Given that Facebook is the most popular app on every platform, and Microsoft’s version is behind that of Android and iOS, it makes sense to start there. The company is “calling all tinkerers” as well as “sharp-eyed, energetic volunteers” willing to try pre-release software and offer suggestions on how to improve it.
Naturally, the company warns that this is only for those who like being beta testers: “Don’t like it when apps crash? This probably isn’t the program for you.” Nevertheless, every Facebook user on Windows Phone user will benefit from this initiative.