Facebook Home has, at last, been announced. In a more modest starting point than some expected, Facebook Home is an ‘app’ for Android that takes over the home screen experience. Most have observed that this is an approach that would likely never be popular with Apple’s app-centric approach, so there must be some sort of agenda.
One of the boldest attributes of Facebook is to embrace and extend. They are always looking to solve people’s “problems” by introducing features to their platform that once upon a time was a modest social network. Facebook Home takes the hypothesis of “people, not apps” and builds a streamlined phone experience based on that.
For those with cheap, simple smartphones who largely use it for messaging services (oh, and calls, if you remember them?), this could be perfect. Whilst smartphone penetration is high, there is less concrete knowledge of whether users engage beyond a few simple activities.
However, power users are understandably up in arms by the idea that Facebook will have an eye on everything you’re doing with your phone. There is also the broader question of whether apps are, as Zuckerberg claims, “old news”. Can Facebook tell me how to get to Leicester Square? Sure, but probably with it’s own ‘app’.