Official Facebook app zooms to first among free Windows 8.1 apps

It was less than 10 days ago when Microsoft not only launched Windows 8.1 but published its long awaited official Facebook app. It was immediately popular, with mostly positive reviews. and now Facebook has zoomed past all the other free apps in the Windows Store to take first place.

It's not exactly a shock to see this happen, since many users of Windows 8 and 8.1 have had to make do with third party and unofficial Facebook apps in the Store, many of which were highly questionable at best in terms of trademark and copyright infringement. It's likely that the official Facebook app will remain in the number one spot for some time to come.

In between the launch and today, Facebook has also updated the Windows 8.1 app with its first patch. Unfortunately, the listing in the Windows Store site does not show any change notes, so we will assume that this first update was mainly to fix some post-release bugs.

Facebook's photo sharing app Instagram was also confirmed as coming to the Windows Phone Store sometime in the very near future. We would hope that a similar app for Windows 8.1 would be considered if the Windows Phone port is successful.

Source: Windows Store | Image via Microsoft

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Nothing unexpected for Facebook being number one, rather, Netflix seems to be unexpected for me as expected a games to stay ahead of that

I want a separate and richer Facebook Messenger App.

Man IM has never been so hard, at least in the Modern Environment. There just aren't that many high quality IM apps.

Thanks, but no thanks. I visit Facebook on Firefox and use the wonderful Social Fixer extension. If you have not heard of Social Fixer, Google it and check it out.

Horray! First and foremost the most annoying thing that was in there, was that the left sidebar was always being displayed when you weren't snapping it to either side (covered the whole screen). Good thing it's fixed now and toggleable!

I'm not surprised, just goes to show people want apps even though you can use FB just fine as a pinned website. Of course you don't get all the added notifications apps give you.

GP007 said,
I'm not surprised, just goes to show people want apps even though you can use FB just fine as a pinned website. Of course you don't get all the added notifications apps give you.

The app also has no ads. You'd think they must add them at some point.

The apps are generally much better optimised for touch compared to websites, that's why I like to use them. On non touch devices, I always use website.

Randomevent said,

The app also has no ads. You'd think they must add them at some point.


The app also is missing a few features that makes windows 8 apps useful such as lack of share charm. It just doesn't feel very metro when split screen, with the 3 lines being the button for quick access to the links.
Regardless to that, I think most people are going to like the layout if they hadn't already opt-in on the new 2013 facebook news feed (that the app mimics).

But yeah, even though facebook's website supports a start screen icon for its shortcut now, people will install an app when it's on the store's spotlight feature... I don't know if that also means they'll install an app just because its an app though; probably.

GP007 said,
I'm not surprised, just goes to show people want apps even though you can use FB just fine as a pinned website. Of course you don't get all the added notifications apps give you.

Yeah I got the app even though I figured I'd still just use the website, but its really an excellent app, and quite often have it pinned to the side while surfing the net.

How is the app any better than plain old facebook.com?

I really don't understand the need for dedicated apps (Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc) when Windows 8/RT load the regular websites just fine.

snailguy said,
How is the app any better than plain old facebook.com?

I really don't understand the need for dedicated apps (Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc) when Windows 8/RT load the regular websites just fine.

Well, an app can brings more features IF they make use of what the OS makes transparent to the user.

Right now, if you're using the facebook app, you can pop notifications of when people reply, comment, tag or send you messages.
Apps should be faster on lower spec machines, such as the arm RT devices since the processor doesn't have to handle the HTML rending and javascript running on each refresh or ajax request.

Other features like rather then having to load the webpage and go to upload and then find and select file, upload the file, edit description/tags etc. you could simply select facebook from the charm's share menu, and the app, working with the OS does all the heavy lifting and you just have to fill in a description and maybe tag a few people.

Unfortunately the facebook app doesn't do any of it, and the UI is still clumber some, slower to update then the website (manual refresh?!), and said features just aren't implemented yet.

The only saving grace for most people is it's lack of adverts, but if you're using adblock anyway... you're left with some crappy popup notifications and you can get the same kind of experience if you just enable email alerts for your facebook account and let it spam your email inbox.


It's a shame, we could have had a really nice facebook app such as http://demos.telerik.com/fdeck/ this fdeck that promo'd on Silverlight a few years back. It's crazy that we're still using rather crap looking apps when we could be having something nice... at least as an alternative.

Edited by sagum, Oct 26 2013, 3:52pm :

snailguy said,
How is the app any better than plain old facebook.com?

I really don't understand the need for dedicated apps (Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc) when Windows 8/RT load the regular websites just fine.

Of the top of my head, it's optimized for touch, it's optimized for snapping next to other apps, and it integrates messaging into the system much better. It's also snappier than the website in many cases.

I thought the same thing you did until I actually used the app. Now I don't go to the website anymore.

Well explain if I have Android, iPhone, WP all has facebook apps with notification. Why do I need tablet apps with notification? Isn't that redundant as you navigate thru the apps and saw 10 notification and realized when you read it, was old notification.

What I am trying to say is, when I sit down at home browsing facebook.com via browser is like turning on desktop PC.

Apps = browser
Mobile phone = Apps

GP007 said,
I'm not surprised, just goes to show people want apps even though you can use FB just fine as a pinned website. Of course you don't get all the added notifications apps give you.

scorpian007 said,
The apps are generally much better optimised for touch compared to websites, that's why I like to use them. On non touch devices, I always use website.

I still don't get why instead of providing a touch-optimized stylesheet one resorts to building those "apps" for several platforms (which obviously ends up with Windows Phone owners complaining, as it somehow takes ages to release an "app" for WP unlike for iOS/Android)

Well I guess I'll summarize again what most already pointed out:

- Optimized for touch
- Live tile support
- OS notifications support
- Responsive layout with snapped view
- Better performance
- People want apps and MS are doing their best to oblige - part of doing business

This is also a first release. I'm sure they'll add even more features that make it a better experience than the website like Share charm support, being able to pin your messages as a tile, etc.

agtsmith said,
"People want apps" - yep, that's what is wrong with the market and that needs to be fixed...

I blame Apple for that and their there's an app for that BS after initially they didn't even have an app store.

Web apps can do just about everything that native apps can do. IE11 can even show certain info if you pin a website as a live tile if I'm not mistaken. In my opinion Windows and other platforms should have systems in place to enable web apps to ask users for permission to enable push notifications and register themselves with a simple service that allows a web app to send notifications down to users. Naturally it should be dead simple and obvious to disable/block a certain app from sending anymore notifications in case of spam, etc.

As far as usability goes, with the prevalence of touch enabled devices, it should simply start being the norm for web apps to be more touch friendly. All Facebook needs to do is add some extra padding to most click targets and implement some minor tweaks (without alienating desktop users whose use a mouse).

I think in a few more years it should be possible for most people to work exclusively online. With things such as Office 365 and Google Apps you have full blown office suites online. Cloud storage is already very mature. There are quite a few online games and there are even decent IDE's for writing codes. Apps are becoming more and more irrelevant and pointless yet people keep crying for them. All this does is stifle innovation in the area where things will ultimately end up going to. It's the users who are making everything take longer and longer since developers waste time writing native apps for a myriad of different platforms instead of doing the same using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS (and cover even more platforms and devices).

minster11 said,
Well explain if I have Android, iPhone, WP all has facebook apps with notification. Why do I need tablet apps with notification? Isn't that redundant as you navigate thru the apps and saw 10 notification and realized when you read it, was old notification.

What I am trying to say is, when I sit down at home browsing facebook.com via browser is like turning on desktop PC.

Apps = browser
Mobile phone = Apps

Good point except the Windows Phone app doesn't always notify you, either that or notifications are hours even days old!!

that's up to the apps developers and I am referring to tablet apps vs mobile phone apps.

Notification on WP are tile based meaning, if I have "WP Central" or "Disqus" apps right on top, I will get notification shown on tile. Since it's not that important I put it in the middle so I had to scroll down to see it.

neo158 said,

Good point except the Windows Phone app doesn't always notify you, either that or notifications are hours even days old!!