04
Apr
fblogo

Today at an event in Menlo Park, California, Facebook took the wraps off a family of apps that are designed to make your handset more people-centric, collectively called Facebook Home. As expected, the main feature is a lock screen that allows you to see content without ever unlocking your device. Because content is loaded in the background, you can see your stuff without waiting.

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The home screen (called Cover Feed) is similarly tied directly to Facebook. Instead of a wallpaper, you see your friends photos, statuses, and any other visual content. You can like and comment without diving into an app. From the lock screen or home screen, you can use a simple gesture to access your apps, get to Messenger, or open your most recent app by tap-and-swiping on your face. By the way, your face is going to persistently be on the bottom of your screen. Say hi, you!

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When you get a message, it will pop up directly on your home or lock screen in what's called a "Chathead." It will float on the side of your screen. You can tap the person's face and the entire Messenger thread will drop down, where you can reply without swapping your phone into an entirely different app. Given that Facebook actually released a second Messenger app despite the same functions being available within the Facebook app proper, it's a surprising switch in mentality.

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The idea is that Facebook wants to remove the "app" feel of the Messenger app (and, indeed, the entire social experience). You can swipe a Chathead down to the bottom of the screen to dismiss them. If you want to keep a conversation going, though, they're always there. As opposed to the current method where messages pop up in the notification shade and disappear when you act on them. The down side is that your friends' faces will be hovering over everything you do, which may be a bit distracting, but you can move them around, so that's nice.

Notifications will also pop up in a similar way. They almost look like chat bubbles, but when you tap them, you'll be taken to whatever story your friends are commenting on, liking, or posting to your timeline. It switches a little red numbered indicator for an actual feed of your interactions.

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Facebook Home is being released to the Play Store as an alternative launcher. As of right now, it will only work on phones, but the company says its working on adding tablet support in a few months. Speaking of, just like the other Facebook apps, Home will update on a monthly basis. It will come out on April 12th and if you have Facebook and Messenger on your device, you'll get a prompt within the Facebook app itself. Initially, only the HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and (eventually) the One and Galaxy S4 will be supported.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShitizGarg Shitiz Garg

    First. Yeah. Downvote me all you want.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

      Glad to see that at least here you can call yourself first!

      • Nevi_me

        Back in the day (when TechCrunch didn't suck) you'd get comments on TechCrunch before an article was published

        • chandradithya

          So you're saying Android Police now sucks?
          Traitor !

          • Nevi_me

            lol, never! I didn't see it that way, but you have a point.
            It doesn't suck, quite awesome, but I'm glad the troll ratio is less, and there seem to be less sheep than elsewhere (which is expected)

          • chandradithya

            Yeah, I agree with you on that. Androidpolice is pretty awesome for that reason.

    • Nevi_me

      Downvote record anyone? He asked for it lol

      • http://www.facebook.com/ShitizGarg Shitiz Garg

        So far I'm not impressed.

        • Nevi_me

          lol, just lolz for the day/evening. Good thing Disqus is not Stackoverflow where you get points for upvotes, We're (well, I am) just having some fun to pass the evening

        • Matthew Fry

          The previous comment was deleted so I'll just downvote this one.

  • pepcok

    Chathead's gonna be such a good insult.. lol

  • Nevi_me

    I'm glad Facebook started something this awesome, can't wait for Google to take the cue and bring something more awesome, and fandroid friendly :)

  • davmnd

    That's nice, but it really would be great if they could actually release an usable Android app. The current one is just awful both in interface, speed and slickness.

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

      that's the idea of it....

    • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

      Is it only me not having any problems with current app?

      • anzensepp1987

        Yes! You`re unique. ;)

        • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

          lol I fulfilled my lifelong dream!

    • TheFirstUniverseKing

      I'm sorry, what? Before Facebook's overhaul you had a point, but I don't experience any problems with the current Facebook app. Maybe it's just because I'm on a fast phone, but it runs fine for me, little to no lag whatsoever even when there are a ton of images.

      • Nevi_me

        It's still not the *best* we could want it to be ...

        Mini-poll anyone?
        If you think the current FB app sucks, upvote my comment, if you think it's great and we're talking rubbish, downvote this comment :)

        • TheFirstUniverseKing

          Any app can be improved in some way, obviously no app is perfect, (and I know you weren't the one who said it) but to claim it's not even usable is just a plain lie. I swear none of you guys are satisfied unless an app follows the holo guidelines exactly.

          • Nevi_me

            It's usable, much better than version 1.x, but if you take something like Google+ as a benchmark, you'll see why we (at least me) think Facebook can still improve

          • TheFirstUniverseKing

            Even though I also prefer Google+, it has its own share of problems. It's latest update opted for a much more cluttered look to show off more info at once, whenever you scroll up you get an annoying bar for posting statuses/photos/checking in, AND there's no pull to refresh, so you always have to reach to the top of the screen to reload. Not to mention, they have a left slide out menu, yet it also only works by pressing a button versus swiping towards the right. Google+ isn't that much better, if any.

          • chandradithya

            Exactly. Atleast cant they have a full native app?
            Most of the functions like FB groups, Events and more still use the HTML5 page.

          • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

            I believe it's fully native

          • chandradithya

            Thats what rumors said, But just have a look at it, Only the news feeds are native, And the comments section too, But when you open groups, or events it still takes a long time to open and you can see the difference with the native parts (newsfeed , Its comments and all)

          • Nevi_me

            And search is *broken*. I can't just search by pressing the search button on my phone, when I open the menu to search, I have to retry once or twice at times before my results are returned. And no, it's not my data connection, LTE isn't public yet, but a 7Mbit+ line with decent latency can't qualify as a slow data connection

          • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

            I don't understand why anyone could have any problems with it. News feed works great, loads fast, I can comment, upload photos easily, chat never lets me down. Sometimes I even use the app rather than the desktop. Maybe it depends on which phone people are using it?

          • TheFirstUniverseKing

            I guess it has to do with the phones we're using. I'm on a Galaxy Note II and don't experience all of these nightmares people apparently have with this app.

          • Isabel Herron

            before I saw the check which said $7199, I have faith that my sister woz realie receiving money in their spare time on their apple laptop.. there uncles cousin haz done this 4 less than 18 months and at present paid the mortgage on their cottage and bought themselves a Mercedes-Benz S-class. read more at, fab22.comCHECK IT OUT

          • Levi Nelson

            Nope its because the app keeps your phone from deep sleeping do to its notification service (yes even if you turn the notifications off).

          • http://profiles.google.com/mformarcee Marcell Lévai

            For me: it drains battery, even if I switch off notifications, it runs in the background constantly, it's slow and some functions don't work properly. For me it's 'holo-enough', it looks good in my opinion.

          • TheFirstUniverseKing

            This is what I never understand. Why does this app apparently drain some people's phones and not others? Wouldn't that mean it's a problem with your phone and not necessarily the app? Facebook never even appears in my battery menu's list, yet I check it practically every 10 or so minutes.

          • UniBroW

            I've personally had facebook just randomly drain my battery, completely. it wouldn't happen often but when it did it was quite annoying. Greenify solved that issue for me though, but then again I don't care about getting notifications much less actually want them in the first place.

          • http://ridukkokun.wordpress.com/ Dukkokun

            For me it's unusable because it keeps my phone awake for no reason, draining battery. That's fucked up.

          • UniBroW

            If you're rooted and don't care about notifications, you can give greenify a try. That along with tasker automating gps is quite handy is making facebook behave somewhat how it should out of the box.

          • jmart75

            Sorry for the noob question, but how did you setup tasker to automate your GPS? I have tasker and can never get it to do what I'm wanting it too.

          • UniBroW

            Happy to help, you have to download the app called "secure settings" and within secure settings you have to install helper. Once you have that all setup and configured, you'll have to setup gps toggles in tasker using the plugin "secure settings". I'm leaving work right now, otherwise I'd go into more detail. If you need more assistance, I can help you out but you should be able to figure it out from there. =)

          • jmart75

            Wow, thanks for the help! I really appreciate that.

          • jmart75

            Sorry to everyone else for continuing to go off the subject, but with that "secure settings" app UniBroW showed me I can actually use tasker for what I wanted it to do. Love it! Open Facebook and it shuts GPS off. Open maps or something I actually want to use GPS with and it turns back on.

          • CJ Walker

            before greenify came about I had to uninstall the app bc of how much battery it drained. Now with greenify tho I'm a happy camper having the app on my phone. No more unnecessary battery drain.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pratik-Holla/1041154510 Pratik Holla

            I am a fan of the holo guidelines and usually prefer downloading an app that looks holo. Doesnt have to be perfect, but if it look nice its good enough. I have no problem with the facebook app in terms of stability but the design of it is just ugly. Its not as slick as it could be. The sidebar is just a mess.

        • http://twitter.com/xplodwild Guillaume

          And upvote me if you don't use the app at all.

      • Dan Garcia

        It works great on my Nexus 4, but my wife has always had troubles with it, regardless of her phones. Right now she has a Note II and always has issues with it.

    • http://twitter.com/add119 adam

      I have no issue on my droid 2 either or galaxy nexus

  • http://www.JWesCampbell.com/ Wes Campbell

    so..... it's a launcher?

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

      yepp

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

      it actually looks pretty sweet!

      • enomele

        If its anything like they're app it won't be.

    • Nevi_me

      with its own plugins, I wonder if they'll have an API

      • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

        they will ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

    DOWNLOAD LINK NOWE!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.millhouse.3 Joseph Millhouse

      Child, don't you have homework or a bath to take now? Does mommy know you are here? What the hell does a little child like you even need Facebook for?

      • Nevi_me

        no cool, just tell child to wait for the 12th to download

      • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

        I'm 15 you fucking idiot. What the fuck is wrong with you? What the fuck did i do to you, for you to suddenly take a shot at me? Go back to jerking off in your little truck. The internet doesn't need scum like you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

          There there. This isn't a place for swearing as for example - Youtube.

          • chandradithya

            Well that escalated quickly.

          • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

            LOL, but sorry, last time i checked the whole internet was full of swear words.

          • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

            So lets make AP different then! :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

            It's my Life, you don't control it, Unless a AP mod says otherwise, i'll do as i please :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

            I agree with you but you know I am quite tired of useless comments and swearing all over the net. I believe you are smart guy and that's why you will act like one ;)

          • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

            I didn't come to AP with the intent to start a war.. lol it's people like Joesph that don't deserve internet :) i was just replying :P

          • ScottColbert

            Or you could mind your own business.

          • http://www.facebook.com/tautvydas.kaziukonis Tautvydas Kaziukonis

            I highly recommend this to you mate

        • kamiller42

          You're getting fished. Don't give in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFkAAvDkj9k

        • enomele

          15. You are a big boy then.

      • ScottColbert

        Don't be a douche your whole, bitter, meaningless life.

  • BrianLipp

    id be more excited for this is if this was the new facebook app instead of a home launcher that im never going to use

  • TheOtherJames

    I can just see trying to use other apps with Chathead.

    "I need to tap this button, oh but a chathead is in the way. Well I'll just move it. Now I'll tap this button. Now I need to tap another button. Oh bugger, the chathead is in the way again."

    Persistent overlays on apps that aren't designed for them? UI fail.

    And even if you can tolerate one of them up, two or more turn the interface into an unusable mess.

  • mikken

    Never.

  • hldc1

    The world doesn't need more Facebook. In fact, I think the world could use a little less Facebook. Younger relatives of mine (teenagers) basically live on Facebook. The world doesn't matter to them. I'm sensing that if, big IF, this takes off, it'll just create a $hit-ton of more people that are oblivious to the world. DAMN YOU FACEBOOK AND YOUR KNACK FOR CREATING MORONS!

    • BrianLipp

      those relatives of yours are exactly the people this launcher and the HTC First are being made for

      • Nevi_me

        Ditto. My little brother's excited about this

        • fixxmyhead

          your little brother needs some hobbies

          • enomele

            Its just a phone. Don't be a dick.

      • hldc1

        I know. And that's sad.

    • tony

      Facebook doesn't create morons, morons flock to faecbook.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

      If it wasn't Facebook, it'd be another site which would work similarly with another name my friend. It's the visitors that make what Facebook is, not the other way around.

  • Bradley Ruiz

    What im wondering is if FB Home now plays well with the people app api or if you'll still have to use a 3rd party apps to sync contacts

    • http://profiles.google.com/mformarcee Marcell Lévai

      Now that's a good question.

  • http://twitter.com/ashutos1997 ashutos jain

    No galaxy nexus support so i cant use it :(

    • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

      Well, not supported, doesn't mean you can't try to install and run it.

      • http://twitter.com/ashutos1997 ashutos jain

        Toys Play Store will says that the App not Compatible so how can i download and install ?

  • Harjit Sahota

    is it just me, or does it looks abit like google+?

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgealexiouvalentey George Av

      O_O damn right :P

  • http://twitter.com/brandonb927 Brandon Brown

    No Nexus 4 or Nexus 7 support out of the gate? I'm not impressed.

  • Ryo Cook

    What no Nexus 4 support? Ridiculous. Facebook sucks at everything I guess.

    • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

      From their perspective, it makes sense -- the user base of Nexus 4 is a lot smaller than the wave supported phones. Frankly, Google probably sells less Nexus 4 than some mid/low tier Galaxy-you-can't-name-them phones.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=663640163 Jonathan McKenzie

        True but here's the thing why not? Wouldn't be pretty easy for them to do and they get more users on it. Isnt that the whole point to get more people using Facebook.

        • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

          I won't pretend that I know the true reason. But if I am developing the Facebook Home, I will also launch with a limited number of supported devices. With that in mind, my choices would be:

          1) Limit the release the most popular phones, so that it will hit the most people w/ a small number of supported devices.

          2) Limit the release to the least popular phones, so that there will only be a small number of people to support.

          3) Limit the release to only the top tier phones in the current generation, similar to #1, but it's difficult to define what top tier phones are.

          That's basically it. I couldn't come up with other meaningful limited releases. Facebook's choice is #1. After making the choices, the remaining question is easier -- just how many popular phones to support? The list cannot be infinitely long. To be honest, if we count the number of users, the Nexus 4 probably won't even make it into the top 10.

      • Ryo Cook

        You're right.

        And Nexus users does have a higher itellectual level. Many of them might not even use Facebook at all.

        I totally oppose my first statement. It totally makes sense for Facebook.

  • CJ Walker

    Wonder how much battery this one will drain -_-

  • Nicolás Rezzano

    Bah, i thought it would be a redesign for the new app like they did for the browser one... But just another crap for me. They should focus on making their apps usables before releasing new stuff, totally disappointed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jelqzko Jelqzko Atanasov

    I wonder why they will support only those devices at first. Why don't they support all XHDPI (the big N is missing in the list - Nexus 4) devices... I think that it's not a matter of optimizations or any other hardware/software issues but just marketing - probably they have some agreement with HTC and Samsung...

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    Personally, I probably won't use it. I may try it out and see how it works, but uninstall it afterwards. Kudo to Facebook, though, for realizing that they can do a lot to customize Android without skinning it, or even forking it. Put it this way, the Android world will be a lot more organized, less fragmented if Amazon, Samsung, HTC, and the likes only apply their customizations through apps. Yes, there are limitations on what apps can do, but apps will be available to more people.

  • Noah Lynn

    This actually seems pretty intuitive. I'm not big on Facebook, though, so I won't be using it.

  • nono68200

    I hope we will see an APK before April 12th...

  • Zak Taccardi

    With all this talk about facebook being immersive, I still don't understand why Facebook hasn't integrated with Android's 4.0+ Contact Cards.

    • selonmoi

      Android is full of features that apps can use to make their content more immersive: contact integration, live wallpapers, resizable widgets, notification actions, lockscreen widgets, daydream...

      Facebook has ignored them all. Now it just wants to assume centre stage and push everything else out of the way. No thanks. My phone is way, way more than Facebook.

  • WHO?

    Unless unfollow post and edit post are included in the app i am really not interested. And i turn off live wallpaper for a reason.

  • selonmoi

    This is so stupid. Basically, Facebook wants Facebook content, notifications, and chats to be more intrusive, and all non-Facebook content to be pushed as far into the distance as possible.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    (No doubt this will appeal to some people, maybe many people. But it's still stupid.)

  • Paul

    So what is this? A lockscreen replacement like GoLocker? Or is this a home launcher replacement like GoLauncher/Trebuchet/ADW/etc.? I mean, I didn't see an apps button in the video and I didn't even see them unlock the screen, so it seems like it replaces the lock screen. But the only real way to do this, like GoLocker, is to set your home launcher to GoLocker and then tell GoLocker what your actual homelauncher is (ADW/GoLauncher/Touchwiz/etc.). So do you set the Facebook thing as your 'home launcher' and then tell it your 'normal' home launcher?

  • http://twitter.com/JacobWoffenden Jacob

    I'd appreciate this on my Nexus 4...

  • Falconator

    Facebook needs to stop trying to be the "next big thing!" and stick with updating it's current services. I do have to say that I enjoyed using Facebook when I had an iTouch because everything flowed the way it should. Right now, Friend Caster does a better job giving me what I want with Facebook. Aside from that, all the extra side apps from Facebook on Android don't always work right. It has nothing to do with the "guidelines" of making an app...it just doesn't always work. I'm on the GS3 and even the messenger app sometimes crashes while I'm reading and texting (no root).

    Facebook could do better then a replacement launcher. I'll give it a shot anyways when released...but I enjoy stock all around.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ psychomaniac189

    Why not add tablet support for the fb app first? Wow

  • anzensepp1987

    Well, I see some Holo in these Screenshots. That's positive. I hope for an overhaul of the FB-Apps as well. This launcher will be never ever seen on my phone - I'd rather use an iPhone instead... :D

  • MotherzBeach

    I guess I don't understand. FB steals all of your info,and that of your friends, the timeline is so ugly I can't bear to look at it any more, and they think taking over the entire home screen is a good thing? Your friends face always floating around? How totally ridiculous. You're stupid to do this

  • Martin Nilsson

    I think Facebook has managed to create something that both looks and works great, if you are a die-hard Facebook fan. The only thing missing as I see it is some kind of awesome "hack" with JB expandable notifications. If they add a shelf with jars to store all the heads in - I could totally sell my soul to Facebook! ;-)

  • mldi

    Nice G+ circles there, Facebook.