Facebook is giving some of its Android app users the opportunity to automatically receive software updates as opposed to receiving download prompts via the Google Play store.

Facebook, reports Liliputing, says the new app allows you to change a profile picture, hide stories and report spam, as well as starting group messages more quickly.

Although users will be able to avoid Google Play for Facebook app updates, it’s not entirely clear what the merits of doing so are. Nor will the updates be pain-free. While the Facebook app downloads the updates automatically, the phone will beep or vibrate continuously until the user installs them.

According to The Verge, Facebook says the goal is to “make sure everyone is using the best version of our app”.

The new Facebook app version is still in beta stage. As such, the social media giant is reportedly making the ‘silent downloads’ initially available to just one per cent of its user base. In that way, new features can be tested before being made more widely available. Techcrunch says that when a Facebook update proves stable and popular it’s then rolled out to 10 per cent of the user base, and then, eventually, to all of them.

Techcrunch reports that Facebook-for-Android had 192 million monthly users at the end of December.