Facebook is forcing its employees to use Android phones because . . .


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Calum

Facebook is forcing its employees to use Android phones because its Android app is just awful

Facebook just updated its iPhone app. Great!

That's no consolation to its employees, who are increasingly getting nudged, cajoled, and even ordered to give up their iPhones for Android devices.

[. . .]

Read more at Business Insider.

What do you all think of this? Is it ethical? Is it a good idea?

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Ambroos

Well it sort of makes sense, and it sort of doesn't. I can understand that they want the team working on the Android app to actually use Android phones. It's the only way to properly find out what's wrong with it (or rather to see that simply nothing is right). But I don't understand why people on unrelated teams should be forced to use a specific type of phone.

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OOOOOOOO

I'm unsure about this. In fact, I think it's a load of old crap. I'm a designer leading the Android team on our product and while the Android app wasn't pushed as hard as the iOS one at first, because we had more iOS developers and a bigger platform of users, we have been pushing the new Android app hard in design and development and it's standing on it's own as a high quality product. And you know why? Because we're a responsible company of people who know that ANY low grade app in your lineup is bad.

It doesn't take employees being forced to use the app if it's bad to make them 'want' to make it better. Any design/development team worth anything will want to make it better by default. I suspect the reason for the Android app being less quality is that ... and I'd bet money on this ... I bet the Android team is smaller. And they have just as hard deadlines. Feature's and stability take time and if the team aren't afforded it, they can't do it. Hopefully they'll be given more time and more team members to bring it up to standard. It is a lower quality app, but in some ways it's actually nicer than the iOS one. It'd be nice if they worked with Google's Android Patterns and Guidelines some more and made it a more unique app that stands on it's own feet rather than tries to replicate the iOS app with a slight difference.

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revanmj

Well, if it makes them fix this damn app then it's a very good idea.

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techbeck

Sounds like they need a better R&D department.

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Roger H.

Just gonna post this, so good if true.

This is call Dogfood! Don't tell me it's so awesome till you can eat it yourself and not vomit everywhere!

Microsoft does this with all their stuff. Bing was/is running Windows 8 servers before they were final and also Microsoft did 30,000 installs of WIndows 8 on campus too while they were still testing it.

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Josh_LosAltosHills

I would think it would be easier to tell the people in charge of these things to do their job instead of (allegedly) making them use a phone they don't want.

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Joshie

This is just standard eating your own dogfood. People can run in circles talking about this being a management problem, but that's shortsighted and betrays a lack of awareness in how development teams work.

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Eric

I agree with this. Maybe making them use the app will force them to fix it when they realize how bad it is. I don't have a mobile phone period, but I believe developers shouldn't make something they wouldn't use.

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thealexweb

Now that the iOS app has been overhauled, iPad messenger app support and a fresh from scratch Android app should be top priority.

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Roger H.

Yeah, i'm thinking they'll be doing that for the big 2.0 release of the app. They've been stretching that 1.9.x forever now, figured it's time to go full 2.0 with a full rewrite as well.

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.Neo

What do you all think of this? Is it ethical? Is it a good idea?

I think that's an amazing policy!

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Denis W.

Now that the iOS app has been overhauled, iPad messenger app support and a fresh from scratch Android app should be top priority.

Haven't tried the Messenger app on my iPad yet, but given they refreshed the Facebook app with the same code as the Messenger app, wouldn't an iPad messenger app be kind of redundant?

On topic, good policy (Y) but if they're Android developers, I'd wager they were Android users to begin with. Unless of course, they're similar to the Mac vs. PC thing, where Mac users generally use Windows at work and come home to their Macs.

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Vice

It's called "Eating your own dog food" Very common in software engineering.

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simplezz

I know it's a crazy and outlandish idea but Instead of playing tricks to get them to do their jobs right, has Facebook considered hiring people who actually produce good Android apps from the get go?

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Shadrack

If they are paying for their employee phones and service contracts, then they can make them use whatever they want. I think its a good idea so that the developers want to make the app better.

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Vice

I know it's a crazy and outlandish idea but Instead of playing tricks to get them to do their jobs right, has Facebook considered hiring people who actually produce good Android apps from the get go?

They already tried that. They actually hired Googles Android senior manager Erick Tseng in late 2010. His role at Facebook was going to be dedicated to their mobile division, creating a great Facebook app for Android, iOS and so on. He didn't last very long as Facebooks Mobile Product Manager and left there too a few months later.

He really should have stayed at Google, why would you leave the creator of a platform to join a company that just wants you to make an application for that platform? It would be like leaving Microsofts Windows division to work at Stardock.

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Roger H.

I know it's a crazy and outlandish idea but Instead of playing tricks to get them to do their jobs right, has Facebook considered hiring people who actually produce good Android apps from the get go?

That makes no sense. You can higher the best people in the world but if they design crap because that's what they are told to do then it doesn't matter. After using it they'll actually see that "X" doesn't work so well as we thought it does on paper/drawing board.

Ideas are great, but sometimes implementation is more important than just putting an idea in because it's good.

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Calum

They already tried that. They actually hired Googles Android senior manager Erick Tseng in late 2010. His role at Facebook was going to be dedicated to their mobile division, creating a great Facebook app for Android, iOS and so on. He didn't last very long as Facebooks Mobile Product Manager and left there too a few months later.

He really should have stayed at Google, why would you leave the creator of a platform to join a company that just wants you to make an application for that platform? It would be like leaving Microsofts Windows division to work at Stardock.

I'm not sure what Erick Tseng's reasoning was for leaving Google to work in that position at Facebook, but I think I'd prefer to work at my favourite company than a company I'm not that bothered about, even if the role was lower down the ladder than my current role. I would work at Google over many companies, but because I prefer Facebook and love the company, I'd switch to a software engineering role there and leave Google at any moment.

EDIT: By the way, according to Erick Tseng's Facebook Timeline, and his public posts, he still works there in the position of Mobile Product Management.

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Boz

They need to stop using this HTML5 hybrid crap wrapped in an app wrapper and build the app fully natively like they did just now with iOS version.

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(Spork)

sounds like a win for me the android app is HORRIBLE !! JUST HORRIBLE hopefully this will get a major update out

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Vice

I'm not sure what Erick Tseng's reasoning was for leaving Google to work in that position at Facebook, but I think I'd prefer to work at my favourite company than a company I'm not that bothered about, even if the role was lower down the ladder than my current role. I would work at Google over many companies, but because I prefer Facebook and love the company, I'd switch to a software engineering role there and leave Google at any moment.

EDIT: By the way, according to Erick Tseng's Facebook Timeline, and his public posts, he still works there in the position of Mobile Product Management.

I read on some profile site for him that he left Facebook but that seems to be false and he is still with Facebook.

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Ryoken

If this is only being forced on the developers then I think it's great..

If it's being done to all employees then that's not right.. Why punish someone who reviews complaints, or whatever, when they have nothing to do with it.

Also, I hope is any of them that are being Ordered to use an Android phone, that FB is paying for it.. I wouldn't change phones if I was told too for work unless they are footing the bill.. If it's on mine dime, I'll use whatever I please.

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