What is Facebook Home?
Facebook Home is a new app that puts Facebook updates and chat on your home screen.
On April 4, 2013, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced new software for Android devices called "Facebook Home," that brings social media updates from the network to the phone's home screen. Rather than the long-rumored "Facebook Phone" or a Facebook operating system, Facebook Home is an app that can be installed on a number of Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Note II and the HTC One.
Facebook Home will be available for download in the Google Play Store on April 12 and also on the new HTC First phone that will sell on AT&T for $99.99, also on April 12.
It will also be available for Android tablets, though the company didn't give an ETA, saying only that it will be available "within several months."
Facebook Home uses the built-in ability of the Android operating system to install a custom home screen. In this case, it is a rotating series of status updates from your Facebook friends. If they post a photo, it appears as the home screen's wallpaper. Otherwise, it shows their cover photo from the top of the Timeline page, with the text update overlaid.
You can interact directly on the home page, clicking to see more about a post, to "like" it or to comment.
Another key feature is called "chat heads." If someone messages you on Facebook a circle with their profile photo appears. You simply clock on it to enter the conversation. You can carry on multiple conversations, clicking from one chat head to another. Chat heads also pop up for SMS text messages. "It doesn’t matter what app you use or what technology you use to send the messages," said Adam Mosseri, a Facebook developer, when he was demonstrating the app.
The navigation button at the bottom of the screen also appears as a chat head, with your own Facebook profile photo. If you slide it to the right, you can access a menu of all your apps (not just Facebook apps) on the phone.
Mark Zuckerberg didn't say if Facebook had any plans to bring Facebook Home to Apple's iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
That seems unlikely, though, since iOS is not as "open" as Android. Apps can run on the OS (with Apple's approval). But applications can't change how the OS works, as they can with Android.