Windows 8/RT App Pick: Facebook

Windows 8/RT App Pick: Facebook

Finally, a native Facebook app for Windows

App: Facebook
Category: Social
Publisher: Facebook, Inc.
Supported platforms: Windows 8 (x86), Windows 8 (x64), Windows RT (ARM)
Price: FREE

Well, it took over a year, but we finally have an official, native Facebook app for Windows 8.1. And it's exactly what you think it is: A version of the Facebook mobile app optimized for the large screens on devices running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1. Hopefully, a future update will add more Windows integration.

If you're familiar with Facebook on Windows Phone, you know that the mobile app for handsets provides a full-screen view of your Facebook news feed, but that you can swipe from the right to access Facebook chat or swipe from the left to display a "Timeline, Groups and Settings" interface (basically everything else). (On the iPad, the news feed and chat interfaces are always visible because of the increased on-screen real estate.) So what do we see on Windows? All of it at once, of course.

On a lower-res screen device, this looks fantastic. But as is often the case with new Metro apps, it doesn't scale very well to higher-res screens. For example:

The app mostly works as you'd expect, and if you are familiar with any mobile app version of Facebook, you'll feel right at home here. You can post status updates and photos, check-in, chat with friends, check messages, see who's nearby, view your timeline, and so on.

The Photos interface is nice, though this is another area where better understanding of screen scaling would help. At least the full-screen photo display is nice looking, and you can of course like, comment and tag photos as needed.

And while the initial release of the app on Thursday didn't include live tile goodness, a quick update since then fixes that: Now you can see nice graphical notifications right on the tile, and of course the app also supports Metro-style pop-up notification toasts too.

More could be done around Windows integration, however. There's no Share charm integration, for example, so you can't share, say, a photo share via the Photos app, or a web page from Internet Explorer. But at this point, I'm happy to have your basic Facebook experience in Windows, and I suspect millions of others will be as well.

You can download Facebook for Windows 8.1/RT 8.1 from Windows Store.

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