April 4, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
The Facebook Android app isn’t very good, and speed is one adjective that will seemingly never be applied to the app. Fast Facebook tries to address that problem with an alternative client whose name sums up its mission. I won’t tell you that the app is great, because it’s not and still in beta, but it is good in many regards. And it’s good in the one area that Facebook can’t seem to get right – speed.
Fast Facebook tends to load a Facebook stream quicker than the official Facebook Android app. A lot quicker. While the official app takes me 20 to 30 seconds to load the timeline, Fast Facebook took about 6 to 8 seconds. Sadly, that advantage is only seen on the first timeline because FF lacks the infinite scroll that users see when they’ve reached the end of the timeline. To see more updates and shared content from friends, users have to search for a person or scroll through their friend list and see individual updates. (On the plus side, the developer tells me that will be changed in the future and more posts will be available.)
There’s more good and bad news to consider. The bad: thumbnails are often displayed in very low quality. The good: this is a beta app we’re talking about, and it has room and time to improve. (I actually had to rewrite the review because previous complaints were addressed in the most recent update.) The Ice Cream Sandwich inspired design is simple and very fast, and the developers are committed to optimizing the app without compromising that great feature.
Rendering speed will only keep Fast Facebook users for so long. At some point, they’ll want the content to load properly as much as they want it to appear quickly. Fast Facebook is a client that has a solid foundation that might make that possible. FF uses an ICS design that can be customized to have a solid grey background, built-in images from the app, or a custom image from the gallery. Users can post updates and import photos from the gallery app and access their notifications. This is definitely still bearing the early faults of a beta, but it’s really fast and has enough features that Facebook fans might want to try it out.