by Kristin Burnham

‘Facebook Home’ Invades Android (and Your Sanity)

Apr 04, 20133 mins
FacebookSocial Networking Apps

Facebook's newest mobile innovation aims to make the social network your destination for all your communication. But as more people experience Facebook fatigue, is it poised for success or failure?

Today Facebook revealed another much-anticipated new product: No, not a Facebook phone like many thought. Not really, anyway. Its new product is called Facebook Home, an optional home screen for some Android phones that puts the social network front and center on your mobile device.

What’s it like? Well, it’s kind of like this:


Here’s how Facebook describes it: “As soon as you turn on your phone or press the home button, you see a stream of posts from News Feed.”

This new feature is called “Cover Feed,” and it rotates through what’s happening on Facebook at that moment: new pictures that your friends upload, links they share and status updates they post. No need to launch a Facebook app, the latest from Facebook cycles through, automatically. Always.


Facebook also redesigned mobile notifications: “Notifications about calls, events, Facebook updates and other apps appear on your home screen and stick around until you need them,” it says. “Profile pictures and app icons make it easy to see what’s what. Tap the stuff you’re into, swipe away the stuff you’re not.”


And lastly, it has a new feature called “Chat Heads.” Essentially, they’re chat bubbles with a friend’s image that pop up whenever someone messages you on Facebook, regardless of what you’re currently using your phone for. And it stays there until you swipe it away or reply.


If Facebook is the way you communicate—messages, chats, sharing, posts, etc.—then you’ll probably love Facebook Home. The design is innovative and the new features integrate the social network into everything you do.

But if you’re a casual user, still rely on emails or—gasp—phone calls to communicate with friends, Facebook Home will likely drive you insane—thanks to the inundation of constant images and updates, the “Chat Heads” popping up when you’re searching for directions. Facebook Home is akin to the “interrupting cow” joke.

More than 60 percent of Facebook users have voluntarily taken a break from the social network for a period of several weeks or more due to “Facebook fatigue,” and yet it is still one of the top destinations for smartphone users.

Facebook Home will be available for download from the Google Play Store on April 12 if you own the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galazy S III or the Samsung Galaxy Note II. If you don’t, and you’re in the market for a new phone, the HTC First, which comes preloaded with Facebook Home, ships on April 12 in the U.S.

Will you try out Facebook Home? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments section below.