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Facebook for Android updates to 1.8.0: Adds games and apps, pinch to zoom on photos

The latest version of Facebook for Android is out and about in the Market now. As rumoured, it brings with it a similar layout to the current iOS edition of the app. It’s now easier to search for messages, events, photos and the like using the grey tab that pops out from the left of the screen.

There’s a search bar at the top that allows you to search for Facebook friends and pages which you can also access with a tap of the Search button (if your phone has one).

The photo viewer app has also been given a tune-up, with pinch to zoom supported on pictures, and tags now visible when you zoom in.

Perhaps best of all though is the fact that apps and games, like Words With Friends, now benefit from the cross-platform support. In other words, you can start playing a friend on your Samsung Galaxy S2 and then carry on later playing them via the desktop Facebook app.

No sign of the rumoured ‘Nearby’ app that we saw in the leak from the other day; the check in function is accessible in the grey sub menu next to groups, news, photos and all the rest.

In the brief hands-on time we’ve had with it on our Nexus One we’ve noted that it’s a little slower over 3G/cellular than the older version of the app, but it’s buttery smooth over Wi-Fi. It still looks stretched and not that great on tablets – nothing really on par with the iPad equivalent anyway.

Some Xperia Arc owners are also having issues judging by comments in the Market, so if you’re an Arc owner, maybe think twice and wait for version 1.8.1/the next bug fix.

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