At the 1 Hackery Way, Menlo Park, California, event, Facebook Home, a replacement for standard Android phones homescreen–that features “full screen photos, status updates, and notifications.”
Facebook has partnered with HTC, AT&T and other companies to offers Facebook Home out-of-the-box on their phones, said CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook Home works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, S4 and Note II.
HTC First smartphone with Facebook Home will available on April 12 for $99.99.
Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12.
Here are the features:
- Cover feed replaces the lock screen and home screen and is a window into what’s happening with your friends on your phones’ home screen and lock screen.
You can flip through to see more stories, and double tap to like what you see.
- Chat heads lets you keep chatting with friends even when you’re using other apps. “When friends send you messages, a chat head appears with your friend’s face, so you see exactly who you’re chatting with. Messages reach you no matter what you’re doing,” explains the company.
“Chat Heads means you don’t have to decide whether to read a message or keep using your current app. It lets communication flow across the phone experience. It’s designed to let you tap in between multiple message threads.”
You can move chat heads around and respond to messages. And since SMS is integrated into Facebook Messenger for Android, chat heads include Facebook messages as well as texts.
- Notifications with profile pictures lets you scrub through multiple alerts all at once. To open notifications, “just tap them.”
And if you don’t want to deal with them right now, “you can just swipe to hide them and keep flipping through cover feed until you want them back.”
- Apps. by just a swipe you can see your favorite apps in the launcher. There’s also a screen containing all of your apps, and you can drag your favorite apps to the launcher.
Below are some more photos of the Facebook Home features:
Update 04/05: While the Facebook Home that ships with the HTC First will have Google search built in, however, the Google Play version will not have Google search–and will required, you to pop into Chrome, open up a dedicated search app, or drop down into your old homescreen.
Facebook has posted first official promotional video for Home.
Here are the video from AT&T demonstrating some Facebook Home features:
How to Use Cover Feed on Facebook Home:
Using Facebook Home Notifications on your New HTC First Smartphone:
How to Use Chat Heads on Facebook Home:
And, finally, watch this Facebook Home parody–taking on some of the potential problems the new application will face. For example: “will the promised monthly updates to Facebook Home end up confusing users as to the basics of how their phone operates? Where will the ads (you know they’re coming) eventually appear? How aggressive will Facebook become when it comes to filtering content from friends on our phone, a platform that’s more personal and private than Facebook proper?”
Update 04/06: Facebook has posted a FAQ regarding Facebook Home and privacy.
“Facebook Home doesn’t use location in any way that’s different from the Facebook app you already have on your Android phone. You can learn about how location works across Facebook in our Data Use Policy and Help Center,” the company wrote on its new FAQ page.
Below are some important things you need to know about Home:
- Facebook Home is like an app. You can install it and delete it as you choose.
- If you install it, Home collects information on all Facebook activity (like usual), plus location, Facebook messages, and that you’ve launched certain apps. This information is identifiable for 90 days before it is detached from your identity.
- Incoming SMS are automatically pulled through the Facebook Home interface, but it sounds like Facebook isn’t pushing the content of those messages back to the mothership.
- If Home comes pre-installed (for the HTC First and beyond), Facebook has access to all of the above, plus third-party notifications.
- Facebook Home can not see your activity within other, non-Facebook apps, like Google Maps
Check out the full FAQ here.
Update 04/13: Facebook Home now available on Google Play store to download. Also, the company has launched a new TV advert, and it has a goat that screams in Zuck’s face.