Forget beta, Facebook wants you to test its highly unstable app in alpha mode

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By Nishtha Kanal /  14 Oct 2013 , 09:57

Facebook had introduced a beta testing mode for its Android application earlier this year. The social networking website wanted Android users to be guinea pigs to test out experimental features that could become a part of the final release. With the success of this testing mode, Facebook is gearing up to let users be a part of a much earlier testing phase with the Android alpha testing programme.

In a blog post announcing this new test mode, a proud Facebook announced that the beta testing programme that was announced back in June is already seeing 1 million users active from 150 countries across the world. These users are ending up giving a lot of valuable feedback to Facebook about the beta programme, which in turn makes Facebook for Android more stable for users.

Facebook, post the beta testing programme has now announced an earlier mode called alpha testing programme. “We started out with beta as we knew it would be a good balance between testing and usability, but we'd love to get feedback as early as testers want to give it.The Facebook for Android alpha testing program will be very similar to the beta program, but the app will be at an even earlier stage in its development,” Christian Legnitto, Mobile Release Engineering lead at Facebook wrote.

Better sharing with the updated SDK

Test the more unstable alpha version of Facebook

 

The company warns that the alpha testing mode of Facebook for Android is “not for the faint of heart,” since it will be very unstable. Features will come and go, crashes will be introduced and fixed and most important of all there will be major alterations to the design time and again. The Facebook alpha programme will look much, much different than the version that is shipped to the stable programme. Users who opt to experiment with the new mode will have to provide feedback over the functioning.

 

If you want to join the alpha programme, quite like the beta testing mode, you need to join the Facebook for Android Alpha Testers Google group and allow alpha downloads by clicking on “Become a tester”. Download the app again and turn on auto-update since the app will be updated several times a week and keep sending Facebook feedback. If you’ve been a beta member already, choosing to opt in to this programme will ensure that you get the alpha and not the beta version. The app downloaded will install itself over both the beta and the general version.

Having regular Android users turn into testers for what works and doesn’t work in the beta programme was a great move by Facebook. The move saw others like Twitter too aping it. Having users test the more unstable alpha version could be a bit of a stretch by Facebook but if handled correctly should go off fine. The company is hopefully ready to see a lot of participants opt out of the highly unstable test zone already.


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