Does Google Really Need Facebook for Android to Succeed?

| March 6, 2013 | 15 Replies

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How many of you still use Facebook? I know I don’t. For the most part I use Google+ because it fixes all of Facebook’s problems. It’s also so well integrated into Android. Now back when Gingerbread was the OS everyone wanted, Facebook began to see a problem. This problem was big, something that could kill the app on Facebook users’ Android-powered phones.

The problem was that Facebook was using to many method records. These are the technical bits that let a service communicate with the app installed on your phone. It was using over 3 million method records, which is now the cap for an individual app. This was Facebook’s big mobile fail. Then 2 days later Facebook’s engineering lead Mike Shaver said “we went from DEFCON 1 – klaxons and sirens, people can no longer use Facebook on Android – to the ability to extend the platform.”


Shaver told a group of reporters that it was thanks to the open source community that got Facebook for Android back on top. They were able to quickly create a patch, moved a pointer in Dalvik, and created more space for an app to store method records. “We were able to send the patch over to Google to get their opinion on it,” said Shaver. “The looked at it for a day or two, and they said it would work for now, if not for the future.”

Since the G1 or even the OG Droid, Android has come quite a ways. Especially if you compare Android 2.x to 4.x. But according to Venture Beat, they feel that without the technical ability to support massive third-party applications like Facebook, the OS will not stand. Which is why Google needs Facebook. Sure Google already has Google+ which is still relatively new but growing. But with there being so many people still using Facebook, that is the only application that can perform a true stress-test on the OS.

According to Shaver:

“We’re a very significant app to them, and they’re a very significant platform to us”

So many of us may feel that we don’t need Facebook for Android (including me) but we kinda do. But you can still find us over on Google+ all the time. How many of you use the Facebook for Android app? How bad is it? I haven’t actually used it in quite a while. Let us know in the comments.

Category: Android App News, Android News

About Alexander Maxham ()

Alex has been an Android user since the Motorola Droid back in 2010. He's been a huge Android fan ever since using many of the most popular flagships. He's currently rocking a Moto X and a G2.
  • craig0r

    Since the app hit version 2.x a few months back, it’s been much better than it used to. However, several users (myself included) seem to get a “no internet connection” message in the timeline, even when there is a connection. I think the app is constantly looking for a course location, so it keeps activating my LTE connection when I’m on wifi, and the app sees the this as a network disconnection. If I turn wifi off, the problem goes away. Honestly, I wish I could fully switch to Google+, but I’ve got something like 38 friends there compared to over 300 on facebook.

  • Sergio Ramos

    a mejorado un poco los últimos 5 meses Facebook se presta para ser utilizado a diario en Android

  • Ian Monroe

    It’s pretty horrid, especially the UI. It’s seen some improvements to stability and it actually works now, but it still looks terrible. It would be much better if it had a Holo interface or behaved in a way that made sense. It can be hard to make it do what you want it to do at times.

  • dre g

    I’ve never installed the Facebook app and won’t. I’m an Android developer and I will not use the Facebook SDK.

    In order to access my Facebook on my Android, I use Chrome for Android. When on an iOS device, I use Chrome for iOS from the App Store to access Facebook.

    As for Android, they do not need Facebook. As for Google, they do not need Facebook. Yes, Google+ is a better platform, but Facebook still exists for awhile — and some people will continue to use it.

  • Pingback: AllPhoneNews Does Google Really Need Facebook for Android to Succeed? | AllPhoneNews

  • Markus

    Installed it for a while, then uninstalled it due to memory usage. It’s constant insistence on synchronising its data with my contacts was getting on my nerves too – who can forget
    Facebook’s fiasco when it silently updated Contact records in iOS. I simply would never trust any third party app to manage my contacts but more so Facebook.

    I only really use Facebook (the web site) to keep in touch with friends who are not on Google+ but all my photographs and posts live on G+. As far as I’m concerned, Facebook is a platform that is on the verge of its slide into obscurity. It might sound far fetched but I can’t see it appealing in any way to future generations.

    As for helping Android, any app and any developer using Android APIs will help Google improve Android. I would say there are other applications that test the limits of Android far better than Facebook. Facebook’s popularity and user base stress tests Facebook’s own servers but shouldn’t affect the app of your average user who only adds real friends (I’m not talking about people with 10′s of thousands of “friends”).

    I don’t exactly know what “method records” are, but reaching a limit is hardly an indicator that Facebook is doing something right, rather it could simply explain why the app performs so horribly (sucks up all RAM) on Android and why it was destined to the bin on my phone.

  • Daniel Petersen

    I have never had the Facebook app on my Androids but I from what I hear, people like the G+ app much better…

  • AndroidDev123

    Hmm, not exactly an accurate representation of what a method is, but this can be a bit complex for non programmers. In more simplified terms, a method is a task (like if I ask you to go to the store, there are other sub-tasks involved). The problem is FB split their code into too many small tasks, which is a bad mobile development practice. As for the 3M method limit, the article I read said 5MB loading limit, and a commenter found that they only had around 37K methods (which is still insanely huge). Someone also noted that there are now comments in the Android source which indicate that some code FB depends on can’t be changed or it will break the FB app, which means they’ve tied Google’s hands with their “fix” instead of fixing it by simplifying the code. Not exactly something to brag about.

    • Markus


      I am a programmer albeit not an Android one. Still, I work with Java and the term “method records” stumped me. You’re probably on the ball though, there could be limitations to the class loading mechanism.

      Actually, I did a quick search on this, the problem was a 3 million method limit in Gingerbread. I suspect FB app never had 3 million but rather contributed greatly to the total number of all methods loaded at any given tine.

      As for the FB code comment in Android source code, I doubt this is true now since Android 4.1 received the Address Space Layout Randomisation (ASLR) treatment and 4.2 received additional enhancements. I sincerely hope that any app specific hacks have been forgone for the sake of security.

  • Patrick Craig

    I love Google and android, but u have to have fb.. Very few people actually use Google +. The fb app is horrible… Has to be improved

    • Alexander Maxham

      What is your definition of very few?

  • Abdullah Tekin

    Definitely yes but up to now Google is doing way better than Apple. Google should produce durable hardware using Motorola to enhance its Nexus series.

  • Abdullah Tekin

    Unfortunately best Fb app is on iOS

  • Kevin Hill

    Think G+ is better in all aspects, but Facebook has more hardcore users. G+ did a horrible job pulling Facebook users away.

  • Paul Taylor

    The Facebook app on Android used to be horrible, very sluggish and unresponsive. Those days are over, and it’s a top performer now. It doesn’t look as stylish as G+ though, but it’s getting another update soon and the messenger is better too. Google Babble is sorely needed!