Facebook Home – The Beginning of the End of the Home Screen

12 Apr Facebook Home – The Beginning of the End of the Home Screen

Back in December, I listened to a talk at MoDev East by “Chief Doer” for Savvy Apps, Ken Yarmosh, who spoke to the crowd about the impending death of the home screen. His main prediction was that the home screen would soon be a thing of the past – being replaced by notifications, widgets and voice and that apps no longer need to be opened to be useful. He called this home screen 2.0, and it seems to be what Facebook and Android have tapped into with the latest announcement of Facebook Home for Android, which launched last Friday, and is finally available for download on some Android phones today. Also, the HTC First will be the first phone available with Home preloaded – which is available today. 


The Android App store is marketing the new Facebook Home as a “mobile experience that puts your friends at the heart of your phone. From the moment you turn it on, you see a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos on your home screen. Upfront notifications and quick access to your essentials mean you’ll never miss a moment. And when you download Facebook Messenger, you can keep chatting with friends when you’re using other apps.”

Essentially, Facebook is taking over your mobile life, if you have this on your phone. You will no longer need to use your home screen to open the app, it will just be there…alerting you…all the time. No matter what app you have open, when a friend messages you or posts to your wall you’re alerted and given the opportunity to interact in real time.

The feature mostly everyone is taking note of is the new messaging aspect of Facebook Home called Chat Heads, which allows users to send and receive Facebook messages and send and receive texts from the same location on your phone. And, apparently Chat Heads has also been integrating into the Facebook messaging app…so you don’t just have to be an Android user to have it.

I think this article from the Huffington Post gives the best account, in my opinion, of what Facebook Home is all about, addressing that tech industry analysts think that as soon as people start chatting through Facebook the sooner Facebook will bring brands into the mix to start monetizing it. According to the article, “more messaging will give Facebook more data it may use to provide advertisers with personal, personalized ways of interacting with its members.”

“They’re just trying to make sure that you don’t use anyone else’s messaging service,” said Carl Howe, an analyst with the Yankee Group, of Home’s messaging capabilities. “They make it so convenient that you would never think about using what are actually very popular other services … Once you’re really invested in their messaging, maybe you won’t mind as much when they start showing you ads on your messaging as well.”

I completely agree, Carl. Not to mention, if it’s already coming preloaded on Android phones and set up to make all of this happen, I think people will go for it. The good new is that, according to reviews, you can in fact disable some of these Facebook Home settings if you prefer to not have everything you’re doing on your phone interrupted by Facebook alerts or messages.  For me, I’m glad I’m still on the iPhone train and won’t even be tempted to try this, for at least a little while.  Personally, I feel like all of the alerts would be a distraction and I also don’t have a problem clicking a few more buttons to get the app if I’m dying to know who’s trying to reach me via Facebook.

As for Ken’s prediction, I think the death of the home screen is just around the corner, as things like Google Now and Facebook Home start becoming the norm.


Kate Nesbitt
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