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Facebook's Mobile App Pretty Good, But Still No Twitter Threat

Facebook's overhauled 3.0 iPhone app is officially live, but speculation that this latest version would somehow marginalize Twitter seems to have been premature.

Analysts praise 3.0 for allowing users to reach out directly to friends via text and phone, but Twitter is hardly a texting or direct messaging service. "One of the best new features," writes GigaOm, "is the ability to send texts and call your Facebook friends directly from the app, a functionality that's been in the works for awhile."

Also, as PC World notes, 3.0 fails to offer push notifications, so the only way to get instant notifications from your news feed -- so popular among Twitter users -- when the Facebook app is closed, is either to set up e-mail alerts from within Facebook or the use SMS alerts. "The iPhone's e-mail client can fetch new messages only every 15 minutes and SMS alerts are not as widely available, so these two options can't really replace push notifications," PC World writes.

Overall, TechCrunch believes 3.0 "may be the most useful app on the App Store," but says nothing about its utility in comparison to Twitter's.

Facebook is apparently testing a new service dubbed "Facebook Lite," which, by all appearances, could challenge Twitter more directly. A completely stripped-down version of the Facebook platform, "Lite" users can see their most recent status updates and the updates of friends just like in a Twitter stream.

Word is that the new service was only designed for regions of the world with spotty and prohibitively expensive broadband service like India -- where it is, in fact, being tested.

That Facebook isn't breathing down Twitter's neck is hard to believe, however, particularly given its recent decision to buy FriendFeed for $50 million, and then roll out a real-time search capability




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