Facebook Home is daring, likable and perfect for social media junkies.
Facebook penetrates the very heart of your smartphone with its new family of applications, called Facebook Home. Using radically altered designs, the app brings Facebook Messenger, the News Feed and other social-networking mainstays directly to your mobile device.
The software package was unveiled at an early-April press event and was scheduled to release to select Android devices on April 12. That was the same day the HTC First, the only Facebook Home optimized handset, was released.
The first thing users will notice about Facebook Home is the eye-catching design. Unfortunately, Facebook Home has to vie for your attention against Google's Android, which draws attention to the flaws you were already used to in the existing Facebook apps.
The software package gives a total makeover to the Android home screen, putting the social network first. An optimized version of the News Feed, called the Cover Feed, takes over with an endless stream of page posts, Instagram snapshots, photos and status updates. Each demands your attention by panning in and around the screen.
The Cover Feed's redesign will appeal to anyone who already loves Facebook because it is a drastic visual improvement from the conventional News Feed that pops up in the mobile app. It is likely still not good enough to convert Facebook haters, but it will probably spark a new interest in people who once loved the social networking site but strayed away over the years.
Another notable difference between the Cover Feed and the News Feed is the ranking algorithm that decides which stories you see. The one for the Cover Feed is slightly adjusted, so most of the stories you see are similar, but the redesign makes stories stand out more. It's always updating, so you see more stories from more friends.
A Simple Breakdown of Facebook Home
Positive: It's visually stunning, updates are front and center, messaging is fun using the Chatheads feature, and notifications are easy to navigate.
Negative: Facebook Home will only be available through the Android operating system, customizing privacy settings can be difficult and casual Facebook users may find it difficult to like.
Should I Buy It?
Don't focus on buying the HTC First, the Android phone pre-loaded with Facebook Home, because the app can be downloaded for free. If you already have a compatible Android phone, like the HTC One, HTC One X+, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4 or Note II, definitely download the free version.