Although most of us were expecting Facebook’s big announcement to be the release of an actual Facebook phone (a phone made by Facebook for Facebook), it turns out it was a Facebook application that takes fully integrates into your phone and the android platform.
The Facebook Home application runs on android and essentially allows the Facebook platform to take control of the phones user interface and fully integrate into everything you do on the phone. I’m sure you may be wondering how and why Google would allow a Platform like Facebook to take over its android UI, essentially turning the phone into a “Facebook phone”. Well, the reason Facebook has been able to achieve this is that Google has taken a much different approach to mobile software than apple, creating an open platform that can be manipulated and altered by developers and applications. A great feature, and one of the reasons some consumers will chose an android based phone over an iPhone. However, leaving it so open to developers has left it open to Facebook as well, and they have taken full advantage.
When the Facebook Home app is installed, the home screen on the phone is altered to look much like a streaming version of the Facebook News Feed. Here all of your typical Facebook “stuff”, pictures, status updates and messages, are streamed right to the home screen of your phone. It removes the need to open any Facebook related apps to stay connected, and also integrates all Facebook messaging with your standard sms messaging, again removing the need to open the Facebook app. It keeps the user permanently connected to Facebook, as if we really needed that.
Although Mark Zuckerberg was quoted saying, “I think this is actually really good for Android.” The general consensus seems to be that it was a big mistake for Google to allow a massive name like Facebook take over their home screen. “Being the first screen a user sees is what everyone clamors for. What you saw yesterday was totally groundbreaking.” – Trip Chowdhry, managing director at Global Equities Research