APP OF THE DAY - Facebook for BlackBerry

For many, Facebook has become part of their daily lives. Not only has it gone and got itself its own movie, but Facebook continues to expand features across platforms. BlackBerry has long been savvy with Facebook, but isn’t always at the top of the list when it comes to getting the latest features. Fear not BlackBerry fans, you’re now covered for Facebook Places.

Facebook for BlackBerry

Format
BlackBerry
Price
free
Where
BlackBerry App World

If updating your existing BlackBerry Facebook app has left you scratching your head, then head into the options menu and you’ll find a manual update at the bottom of the page. This will bring forward Facebook for BlackBerry 1.9.

We’re looking at Facebook for BlackBerry today because it brings with it the new Places feature. This is the one that might make Foursquare totally irrelevant, allowing you to check in to various locations and share it with your Facebook world.

The Places icon finds its way onto the top bar, so you simply have to scroll across and select it. The app then pulls in information from other friends using Facebook Places, where you can view the profile of different locations. You won’t do that though, because you’ll be too busy checking in to your own location.

The app scurries off to try and determine your location. We found that our two devices struggled here (Bold 9700 OS5 and Bold 9780 OS6), with neither of them picking up our location reliably first time every time. Often we got the message that our location was not available.

A bit of a dampener - it seems to need both a reliable GPS position and a good 3G connection to work and sitting at home connected to Wi-Fi, it resolutely refused to offer a location. However, persistence paid off, and we soon found ourselves able to check in. You also get the option to tag friends that are with you, so everyone can see who’s where.

From the profile of a location you can spring into a BB Map and it’s a shame you can’t set it to use Google Maps instead, which we much prefer.

Visually BB OS5 and OS6 versions look the same, but OS6 users get a better pop-up menu option. A long press on the navikey will bring it up, offering a quick way to carry out various actions - like view a profile or picture, poke, message, etc. The menus are context sensitive, so you get different choices depending on where you are in the app. Here you can also manually force a connection with a contact if the app hasn’t already put it into place.

The friends view has been split into tabs, with Friends and Pages now getting a look-in. The regular offerings are still all in place, including integration into your combined inbox, so can see messages that have been sent and received without having to go into the app itself, along with the regular photo sharing and commenting features.

BB OS6 users (Torch or Bold 9780) will also be able to get Facebook search as an option from the universal search feature. Although it doesn’t return Facebook results, a click of the icon opens the Facebook app and runs the search you’ve typed in the box. This then returns results, but we found it didn’t return people we were already friends with, rather suggesting complete strangers, so seems a little limiting.

For many people Facebook is pretty much an essential app and it’s great to see that BlackBerry users now get access to the latest service, meaning you can get social- and location-friendly on the move. We’ve highlighted a few things we’d like to see changed, but otherwise, go out and grab it.

What do you think of Facebook Places on the BlackBerry - any problems finding your location? Let us know in the comments below...



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