When it launched its stand-alone “Events” app on iOS in October, Facebook claimed an Android version would be landing soon. Well, it seems that day has arrived, with Events launching on Android on Monday.
The app, which sees the company harness the power of its Events feature to give users more social discovery options, will go live on Google Play soon, according to TechCrunch.
When you open the Events app, you can immediately see where your friends are headed, catch up on events announced by Pages you’ve liked, and view updates from events you’ve already signed up to via the home feed.
The app’s clean interface offers several distinct sections, alongside the home tab, that can be accessed by clicking the corresponding icons at the bottom of the display.
Tap on the magnifying glass option and you’ll be presented with an explore tab, allowing you to discover events by browsing through recommendations based on time, location, and your interests. Here you’ll also find an interactive map that displays events happening around your location. Additionally, at the top of the section is a search tab that allows you to seek out events in other cities if, for example, you’re planning a road trip.
To transform you into the ultimate outgoing events-seeker, the app offers its very own calendar, which lets you easily organize your schedule. You can even add calendars from your phone and view them alongside your Facebook events, in order to avoid any potential mix-ups. Integrating calendars may even influence you to ditch your smartphone’s native calendar app in favor of Events, if Facebook has its way.
Despite its stand-alone status, the app is still tied to Facebook’s flagship social platform. Consequently, Events broadcasts your activity on Facebook by displaying the events you’re interested in and the events you’ve shared with your Facebook friends, even if they don’t have the app.
“Whether you’re looking for something to attend this weekend or just wondering what’s happening in your area, Events will help get you there,” said Aditya Koolwal, product manager, Facebook, in a blog post announcing the app.
Facebook claims that more than 100 million people use Facebook events, and that hundreds of millions of events are shared on Facebook every year. Those kinds of numbers made the launch of a stand-alone app a no-brainer.
However, the app has thus far failed to make an impression on the App Store charts. Shortly after its debut, it peaked at 67 in the social networking category, and then gradually began its decline to below 500 in the ranking, before steadily climbing back up to its current position: hovering around the 250-mark, according to figures from App Annie.
Facebook has thus far resisted any urges to force its burgeoning product on its users by making its Events feature exclusive to the app, as it did with mobile-syncing images for Moments and messaging for Messenger. Whether those stagnant numbers will affect its future decisions remains to be seen — although the inevitable boost that will come from the Android launch should do it some good.
A quick glance at the recent history of Events on the social network provides an indication as to how Facebook could build upon the app. In June, Facebook tapped a team of curators to create a “featured events” list, which may have already been integrated into the app’s explore section. Toward the start of the year, it was revealed that Facebook had filed a patent application to add a carpooling option to its Events pages, allowing users to indicate if they plan to drive to an event and offer rides to other attendees. It also wouldn’t come as a surprise if Facebook introduced more ecommerce features to the app in light of its partnership with Ticketmaster — the online retailer has been selling concert tickets via select Events pages since April.
One thing you may not see on the app are political or religious events. Despite the use of Facebook by social activists to organize protest rallies both at home and abroad (during the Arab Spring, for example), it seems unlikely that the platform will direct users of the app toward such gatherings. Upon the launch of its aforementioned curated events feature, Facebook claimed it would “not include events primarily focused on politics or worship.”
Considering the app actually looks like a decent tool for organizing social gatherings, an inevitable expansion may not be entirely objectionable.
Updated on 12-12-2016 by Saqib Shah: Added info of app’s Android launch.