Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The highly anticipated Facebook Home app has gone down like the Titanic after mere weeks on the open market. With very low ratings, it seems Facebook Home is an undisputed failure. Whilst most of the reviews are overwhelmingly negative, some gave it more favourable judgements.
What is Facebook Home?
If you don’t know what Facebook Home is, you are not alone. It didn’t arrive with much fanfare and it won’t change much about how you interact with Facebook, and how Facebook interacts with you.
It’s a piece of Android software which synchronises Facebook to your phone. It adds a new home screen where you can receive notifications, messages, and new items on your news feed.
It’s a piece of smart software as it uses something called Cover Feed. Cover Feed integrates with your news feed and prioritises what your friends are saying and sharing, such as links and photos. Flicking through the stories is a matter of just double tapping the screen.
Why, Mark, Why?
Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted Facebook Home to increase Facebook’s share of the market. He said 20 per cent of the time spent on a smartphone is spent browsing on Facebook. By increasing this share, Facebook could capture an entirely new platform, which may lead to new products in the future; and more than a few paid advertisements.
Wall Street reacted well to the announcement of this new software. The share price for Facebook went up by a whole three per cent.
What Went Wrong?
Since launching two weeks ago on the Play Store, half a million people have downloaded the app. 14,000 people have also reviewed it on Play. A total of 7,500 reviews gave it only one star out of a possible five, whilst 2,300 people gave it five stars. The average rating is therefore 2.2 out of five.
The main complaint is about battery life. Zuckerberg’s app is handy at helping you to flick through stories, but the home screen sucks battery life out of the device. This, obviously, creates a major issue with people who browse Facebook regularly.
Another major concern is the fact Facebook seems to take over your smartphone. By becoming fully integrated with your device, it makes accessing non-Facebook content harder.
Privacy issues were also another concern. Users who allowed Facebook Home onto their smartphones allowed Facebook to look into all the personal details held on this device.
The deputy editor of Business Insider and enthusiastic Facebook investor Jim Edwards said people don’t want to dedicate all their devices to Facebook. He also said the interface where you have to navigate through Facebook to get to a web browser or Twitter was problematic.
CNet’s Seth Rosenblatt also said misplaced privacy settings could cause serious issues with users concerned about the security of their data.
And Matt Honan from Wired said it added very little to the experience of using Facebook. At the same time, he acknowledged it could convince more people to spend time on the social media website, if promoted correctly.
Most industry figures expect Facebook to revisit Facebook Home in the next year and make some major changes. They said many of the teething issues are just a matter of poor coding, and some tweaks could make it a much more attractive proposition to users.
Erin Warbrook is a freelance writer based in Western Australia, with an keen interest in all things tech, business and social media as well as health and safety. She is a regular contributor and moderator at Presswire.com.au touching on these topics and more.