When the popular iPhone application for Facebook got a dramatic refresh last summer, lead designer Joe Hewitt said that the inability to view Facebook videos was a real disappointment. This weekend that changed, and Facebook iPhone users now have a very nice experience viewing videos on their mobile devices.
A quiet update to the application on Friday fixed a number of small bugs but the biggest change was the introduction of video. Facebook sees 2 billion video views each month, which is the same number YouTube sees every single day.
This Spring Facebook began displaying native Facebook videos full-screen on the iPad, by switching to h264 encoded video files when appropriate. A Facebook spokesperson didn’t tell us what the technical implementation was in the new version of the iPhone app, but did point to a number of ways that users can now find the videos.
Included in the drop-down of Newsfeed viewing options is a new link to see all the videos uploaded by your contacts. If you haven’t subscribed to Nicholas Kristof on Facebook, now could be a good time. His 5 minute-long videos uploaded to the social network are a great way to get a quick education about the world. Geek Exploration TV? Perfect for Facebook mobile. Heck, I just watched a Facebook video from George W. Bush on my iPhone!
Most of the videos in my stream are of babies doing (ostensibly) cute things. Millions of people will now be able to view videos from friends and family on their phones, as well.