Facebook Phones Home
The long-rumored Facebook phone is finally here. Except it's not really a phone. It's YOUR phone, with a new face. But is it a friendly face, or another 'in your face' intrusive reach by Facebook into your privacy? Here's the scoop on Facebook Home, and your phone...
What is Facebook Home?
Mark Zuckerberg wants to be the annoying little brother who followed you everywhere when you were kids. You know, the one who was always in your face, getting in your way while trying to “help”... the one who memorized everything you did and spilled the most awkward parts to your parents and peers... the one you loved but wanted to strangle.
Of course, the founder and CEO of Facebook doesn’t see it that way. He figures that since 25 per cent of online time is spent on Facebook or its subsidiary, Instagram, then it makes perfect sense for Facebook to take over your Android smartphone’s home screen. That is what the company’s new app, Facebook Home, does. Hello, little brother... or is it Big Brother?
Facebook Home replaces your palm-sized desktop of handy apps and icons with a stream of Facebook and Instagram content. Photos of what your Facebook friends are doing stream by constantly. Status updates and messages of dubious importance roll by. And, of course, there will be ads.
It’s very convenient if you bought a smartphone in order to “like” things. But that means other apps like your web browser, Gmail, Maps, Twitter, and Angry Birds will take a back seat. They are still accessible but you have to work a little harder to get past Facebook Home and use them.
Already, the privacy police are speculating about what Facebook Home may or may not be doing in the background. They start with the obvious truism that Mark Zuckerberg wants to know exactly what you’re doing every minute of every day, so that he can use that knowledge to increase his ad revenue.
Facebook Home is capable to capturing data about what apps you use and how long you use them. It can tap GPS hardware to figure out where you live (e. g., where does the phone sit without moving all night?) It can tap a phone’s accelerometer to deduce when you are jogging. Who knows what Facebook will do with such information, and why would anyone trust Facebook’s privacy record?
What's In It For Facebook Users?
Fans of Facebook Home say it adds a third dimension to the traditional side-to-side phone interface, integrating and enriching the user experience. Other apps’ notifications, such as “you have mail,” pop up and overlay whatever you are doing on Facebook. You don’t have to quit a game or app to chat with someone. You never, ever, have to ignore your Facebook friends (or the ads).
A plus for some is that your phone's SMS text messaging and Facebook messaging are unified into a single interface. When Facebook incorporates VoIP calling for "Chat Heads" (Facebook Home's way of displaying your contacts) the virtual mobile life will be complete.
Facebook Home for Android will be available for download on April 12, 2013. Facebook is also partnering with smartphone manufacturers to pre-install the Facebook Home software on some Android phones. The $99 HTC First (also available starting April 12) will be the first such offering. For now, you won't be able to get Facebook Home on iPhones or iPads. For that to happen, Facebook must convince Apple to make changes to the core of iOS, the Apple operating system for mobile devices.
If you're really into Facebook (and blissfully unconcerned about privacy issues), I can see how Facebook Home might be something you'd like to try. If Facebook is a place you visit only once in a while, to catch up with friends or post an occasional update, it'll seem more like an annoyance than a convenience. No doubt you will be hearing more from Little Brother about the benefits and availability of Facebook Home. Will you try it?
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 9 Apr 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Facebook Phones Home (Posted: 9 Apr 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved