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Facebook calling Android app users to test new beta

Facebook has launched a beta testing programme for its Android app, which will allow users to opt in and test out pre-release versions of the social network's app.

"Our goals with this program are to expand our pool of testers and gain feedback across a more diverse set of devices," Facebook said in a blog post. "Just by using the app and reporting issues, beta testers will be able to help us improve performance on a wide variety of Android devices we may have otherwise been unable to test at scale."

Anyone with an Android device - whether it's running Gingerbread or Jelly Bean - can join the programme by opting in to the Facebook for Android Beta Testers Google group. Facebook will then release "a small batch of fixes and new features every month." Just use the app as you normally would, but report any bugs you encounter to the Facebook team.

"Because the beta build will have features that are still in progress, the app may be less stable than you're accustomed to," Facebook said. "Feedback on stability, as well as any other performance issues you experience, is crucial and deeply appreciated."

The programme is possible because Google launched a beta-testing and staged rollout programme for Android apps at last month's I/O developer conference.

Before today, Facebook usually tested updates within the company with about 1,000 people. About six months ago, it opened that up a bit more with a testing programme with partners like Qualcomm, HTC, Ericsson, Sony, Huawei, and MediaTek.

Android fragmentation, however, has made testing "a challenge," Facebook said. "The ultimate goal of the program is to release updates to Facebook for Android that are more reliable and better performing," the company said, so the more people testing the app on different versions of the mobile OS and different devices, the better.

To get things started, join the Google group, allow beta downloads by clicking "Become a Remote Tester" in the Play Store, download or update your Facebook app, and join the Facebook beta testers group on Facebook to voice your opinion.