Facebook is pulling a fast one on its Android users. Facebook’s latest update lets the social network push updates to your Android phone without bringing Google Play into the picture, according to Liliputing.
Normally you’d have to access Google Play and then select Facebook were there an available update. But if you currently have the latest version of the Android Facebook app, from now on when you’re near a Wi-Fi connection, the social network will push downloads straight to the Facebook app when an update is ready. This cuts out the Google Play middle man, unless you aren’t near a solid Wi-Fi connection, then you’ll need to do it the old-fashioned way. Now before you start pointing fingers at Facebook for what could be interpreted as a mischievous ploy, the downloaded update requires a manual installation. In other words you need to accept the installation, and the installation page includes a list of the latest changes. There’s really not much different here aside from the fact that you’ll have to accept the update from a different page. What might be annoying about updating this way, though, is that the app will vibrate the phone or beep until you finally accept the installation.
Facebook’s Help Forum might shed some light as to why the team decided to approach updates this way. Facebook’s Ragavan Srinivasan addressed concerns that this change was related to malware (which it isn’t), “Hi all. I work at Facebook on the Android app and wanted to mention that this is legitimate. We’re working quickly to improve Facebook for Android and want to make sure everyone is using the best version of our app. You’ll experience these updates when you are on Wi-Fi, and they won’t rely on your data plan.”
iOS users, don’t expect an update like this though. Apple requires developers to submit any changes directly to Apple, which then undergoes a review process. So there’s a strict policy in place that prevents developers from pushing updates automatically.