Facebook has finally started to look at mobile not as an option, something nice to have, but as something crucial. For a long time, the main goal of its mobile team was to minimize costs and complexity, so it created an HTML5-based app that it repackaged as an iOS or Android app, or as one of the various mobile websites.This approach resulted in inconsistent quality, performance problems and buggy apps. This while hundreds of millions of people were already using them.
It led to Facebook’s decision to start building native apps for all the platforms it's on.
This led to another problem, though: to have great apps, it needs its engineers to be using them.
For the longest time, Facebook has preferred the iPhone and it has been the company phone of choice for many years, partly because it was better than any Android phone, partly because Facebook hates anything Google.
The iPhone, not to mention the iPad, is still very popular, but these days Android phone sales far outnumber iPhone sales, especially when considering the global market.
With one billion users worldwide, Facebook needs to be where its users are and that's on Android.
This is where a new program at Facebook comes in, the company is looking to convince its employees to switch to Android.
It's got a full campaign going at its headquarters, with posters promoting the "Android" way.
The campaign is dubbed Droidfooding, from Android and dogfooding, i.e. testing your products by using them internally, in this case the Facebook apps.
It's working too, more and more people are carrying an Android phone as well these days.
It makes sense for the mobile team to do so, but the campaign goes beyond them or even the engineers. That's because the main goal is testing not design.
Facebook needs to test changes and new features with its employees before rolling them out, which is why it needs more people using the Android app.
These internal beta versions of the apps even come with an interesting bug reporting feature, if something breaks, all users have to do is shake their phones violently, the "rage shake," and a report will be filled out automatically.