Facebook and Google Android app getting closer

Facebook and Google will suspend rivalries long enough to create an official Facebook app for Android phones.

Update: Article updated at 1:10pm PT with confirmation from Facebook.

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Thanks to close collaborations with Apple, Microsoft, RIM (BlackBerry) engineers, and so on, Facebook-sponsored applications are available for a wide spectrum of mobile phones. An official Android app is in the works, Facebook has confirmed, with Facebook and Google working together on the software.

Some have scoffed that they'd never see the day when the two Silicon Valley titans pause the rivalry long enough to cooperate on a project. The truth is that they need each other, at least this time. Google needs to fill its Android application storefront with popular titles to stay relevant, and Facebook needs to ensure that mobile users can continue accessing core functionality from any device. It would be overstating the issue to suggest that, in one sense, they both need each other to beat each other, but in the case of this small victory, the brand win is important to both.

Facebook for Android is expected to launch with fewer features than its iPhone counterpart, TechCrunch reports. If their tip is correct, users may have to make do without the message in-box. However, Facebook for Android will center on the familiar activity feed and status updates, and is said to be powered by Facebook's Stream API.

We'll see what transpires when the application materializes, so stay tuned for an update and hands-on review in the near future. Neither Facebook nor Google would share a release date, but a Facebook representative told CNET that the app is coming "soon."

Android has the strong Fbook app from developer NextMobile Web (covered here), but with all due respect, it's akin to serving margarine instead of butter; margarine salts and fattens just fine, but we all know it's not the same thing.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.