Late last month, a report emerged that said Facebook developers were hard at work building a new iOS app. Of course, Facebook users with iPhones rejoiced - I mean, that app is notoriously slow, clunky, and prone to crashing. Two anonymous sources told the NYTimes' Bits blog that they were building the app for one thing:
And we felt the need. Those in contact with the build said that the app was "blazing fast," and that we would probably see it some time this summer.
Now, thanks to a reddit AMA, we have confirmation from a named Facebook engineer that a team is currently working on building a faster app.
The engineer, identified as Serkan (and verified by the moderators) isn't actually on the app team - instead he works on infrastructure that powers the News Feed, Timeline, and messages. When asked about how he feels about all of the hatred spewed at the Facebook iOS app, here was his response:
[T]he iphone app needs a lot of work. I think people are kind of right. not to disparage that team as there's a ton of feature work in there, but it needs to be a lot faster. trust me that we are working on exactly that.
Of course, we know that Facebook must be working to improve their mobile product. But it's refreshing to hear a Facebook employee basically say "we know it sucks, your anger is justified, and trust me we're fixing it.
The little tidbit about the app was just one of the things Serkan touched on during the Q&A session. Here are some more interesting little bits:
When asked about Facebook ads...
I probably shouldn't talk for that team too much, but generally we think of ads the same way we think of other communication on fb. if it's starbucks talking to their fans it's not fundamentally different than me talking to my friends. so we're not trying to shove ads on the side and pray people click on them - we're trying to integrate them more with the other naturally social stuff on the site. I think sponsored stories are going to be huge, for instance.
On the topic of Mark Zuckerberg...
He's definitely not a dick. He has the same desk setup as everyone else and spends more time at the office than anyone. he lives a block away so he can do that, and he's really disciplined in that way. it's impressive. he's also super smart. i dunno how to answer these questions as I'm not good at explaining how a person is to other people, but i assure you he's a smart guy who likes building things for facebook and is awesome to work with.
On snooping in on Facebook users...
[W]e are completely intolerant of any abuse of user trust by employees. like, you will be fired immediately without question. we couldn't take it more seriously because not only is it evil to users, but it's evil to the rest of us at the company who work hard to build that trust.