Facebook Home Unveiled to the Public: Will it Catch On?

facebook homeAt the beginning of this month, Facebook teased everyone in its announcement to “come see our new home on Android.” Rumors abounded about what exactly the public was going to see on April 4th. Some pundits said a Facebook phone designed by HTC was coming; others thought it would be an actual phone (with a modified Android system) designed by Facebook.  The suspense is over though, and we now know what Facebook Home is all about.

What Is Facebook Home?

With the event on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg –who has been famously quoted time and time again saying Facebook doesn’t need a Facebook phone – announced to the world the Facebook Home for Android devices. Instead of making a phone, Facebook showed its ability to think outside of the box. They created something better than a phone, they redefined the app as a crucial element in how a phone works.

So what exactly is Facebook Home? It’s going to be released to Android users on April 12th and it’s going to be unlike any app you’ve used before. Doug Gross writes for CNN, that “once the phone ‘wakes up,’ the home screen and lock screen are replaced with something called the “cover feed.”” This cover feed is basically a mobile version of the news feed, but it takes over the home screen of your phone. Additionally, anything you do on your phone, pics, videos, games, and chat can all be handled by Facebook. You’re never more than a swipe away from accessing features of Facebook (like Messenger) or from accessing your phone like you regularly do.

Why create your own phone when you can make something that works on all phones (assuming it comes to iOS soon)? As Somni Sengupta at the New York Times writes, Facebook Home is Facebook’s “latest, most ambitious effort to crack the challenge” of taking mobile head on. Even more important, as Somni informs, “Facebook has cleverly, perhaps also dangerously, exploited technology owned by…Google.”

Personally, I think the Facebook Home idea is the best move Facebook has made in years. Creating an app that literally integrates with your phone and connects you 24/7 to Facebook is a marketers dream, and for people that love to use Facebook, it’s going to be great for them too. It addresses the concern for people moving increasingly to mobile, while also doing much more than that. Anything that approaches a  concern or issue from a new perspective is a welcome change in my book. But will everyone want to adopt Facebook Home?

Are People Ready for a Super App Like Facebook Home?

However, there are some concerns about Facebook Home. People might not be very open to the idea of letting a Facebook app redesign how they use their phone. Big changes like that aren’t easy for people to make. Additionally, privacy might be an issue. It looks like Facebook Home is an always-on, always-active super app that will change the way your phone runs. No one knows yet how much data or info it will have access to while it’s operating 24/7 on your phone.

Over at USA Today, Edward C. Baig views Facebook Home as a great app, but he also questions how many people will make the jump when it is released. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. As long as Facebook supports the user first, and then works on monetization, I don’t think they will have much of a problem getting Android users to adopt Facebook Home. It will probably be slow at first, but it might well pick up steam in just a few short months.

What do you think about Facebook Home? Will you get it for your Android device?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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