Facebook adds music app controls to latest Android beta

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is adding mobile music controls to its latest Android application beta, allowing users to manage services like Spotify, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play Music, Pandora and Rdio directly via the Facebook Home launcher's Cover Feed lockscreen.

Facebook Home, unveiled in early April, is an alternative homescreen that pushes the social media giant's mobile services to the forefront of the Android user interface. Earlier this month, Facebook ported Cover Feed to its flagship Android app: Users can set Cover Feed as their device lockscreen, letting them view photos and updates from their Facebook friends without installing the complete Home package.

Facebook for Android beta testers who've activated Cover Feed will now see notifications identifying performers and songs streaming via their mobile music apps, with track metadata overlaid atop album art. Users may also tap the notifications to reveal control buttons letting them pause the music or skip to upcoming and previous songs.

Facebook Home support remains limited to a handful of Android devices, and among the roughly 22,650 consumers who've submitted Home reviews to the Google Play marketplace, close to half have awarded it just one star, the digital storefront's lowest rating. Facebook has promised significant improvements directly inspired by consumer comments.

Facebook unveiled its public testing program in June. Opt-in users may trial updated versions of its Android app prior to general release, a move to generate feedback across an array of operating system versions and device form factors. Upon joining the Facebook beta program, users will receive a small batch of fixes and new features every month. Facebook asks that they submit reports when they encounter bugs or other issues.

"This new tool will help us get performance data and feedback from more people ahead of release across a wider range of devices and versions of Android," explained Facebook for Android Product Manager Ragavan Srinivasan. "The ultimate goal of the program is to release updates to Facebook for Android that are more reliable and better performing."

Facebook now boasts 819 million mobile active users, increasing 51 percent over the second quarter of 2012. Mobile daily active users now exceed 469 million. The company said nearly half a billion people use Facebook on their phones every day.

For more:
- read this TechCrunch article

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