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Facebook app gets speed-boosting update for iOS, Android

Facebook has unveiled a new version of its iOS app, which the social network said is twice as fast as the previous version.

Facebook 5.0 for iOS will open the app faster, as well as boost the speed of scrolling through the news feed and opening photos.

To keep tabs on the latest stories, the updated iOS app includes a new banner atop the news feed that highlights how many new posts are waiting to be read. Tap it and new stories will appear.

Facebook also promised that photos will "load instantly" as soon as you tap. "Pull down to close it with a single swipe," Facebook said.

As of 13:30 US Eastern Standard time yesterday, the update had rolled out to my iPhone 4. Scrolling did indeed appear a bit smoother; in recent months, the iOS app felt sluggish and sometimes came to a standstill while trying to open photos, read comments, or refresh the news feed.

Photos also opened quickly, simply filling up the whole screen when tapped. Comments and likes overlay the image when selected. A quick swipe down or tap of the "done" button returned me to the news feed.

The Facebook Android app also got an update on Thursday, but with different features. According to Google Play, the Android app now lets users easily create events, share photos faster with a new upload flow, and add photos and emoji to messages.

In related news, meanwhile, Google's first update to its Chrome for iOS app includes some social components, including the ability to share directly from Chrome to social networks like Twitter and Facebook as well as email. The update also fixes a glitch that caused Incognito pages to load as blank.