Facebook Home now available — what are your early thoughts? [POLL]

It’s Friday, folks, and Facebook has finally released Facebook Home in the Google Play Store. As its name implies, Facebook Home strives to become your next home-screen replacement, giving you all things Facebook as soon as you press that power button on your phone. It’s quite the interesting experience, one we’ve already gotten to play with at the Facebook Home event. Kevin has also been playing with the HTC First, the first phone to feature Facebook Home by default (which also happens to be available at AT&T today). You can watch our unboxing of that particular phone here, and talk more about it over at the HTC First section at AndroidForums.com.

So what, exactly, is Facebook Home? Picture yourself unlocking your phone to the home screen and the first thing you’re greeted with is a funny picture your friend posted, or a stream of interesting status updates. You can swipe left and right to flip between statuses and stories, and do things like double tap to like them or share and respond. Another major element of Facebook Home is Chat Heads, a unique way to carry on with your conversations while you do other things on your smartphone.

For instance, if you and a friend are coordinating where to meetup for lunch you can launch Maps while that friend’s icon stays hovered over the maps app. You can bring up a chat overlay that will allow you to seamlessly continue your conversation. Once you’re done you can swipe your friend away until you need them — sounds cruel, I know. It’s actually pretty cool, though.

The app seems functionally stable and was delivered as promised, but it hasn’t been met with great reviews in the Google Play Store. In fact, it’s getting a metric ton of 1-star reviews. Why? Well, most users exclaim that Facebook Home sucks the soul out of the Android experience, shunning widgets and customization to make room for status updates and likes. I’m of the opinion that an app should be rated based on how well it does what it was promised to do, but we’re wondering what your thoughts are.

Do you like Facebook Home? If not, why? And do you think bombarding its listing in the Google Play Store with one-star reviews because you don’t like its function is justified or are users forgetting what reviews are supposed to be about? Vote in the poll below and pair that with a comment in the comments section, and if you haven’t already be sure to give Facebook Home a try in the Google Play Store. You’ll need to own one of the following phones (US only for now) if you want to get in on the fun, though this list is bound to expand in the future:

PS: In a predictable series of events, the main Facebook application and the separate Facebook Messenger application have been updated, as well. They simply add the code necessary to make Facebook Home tick as needed, and you’ll also find the usual round of bug fixes and performance improvements we tend to get with every update. Find those at their respective links in the Google Play Store.

 

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  • KosmoCrisis

    No lock screen ability. Its sweet otherwise, but virtually useless at this point. Nice post Q!

  • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

    Wish I could install it on my broken Nexus 4 :/

    • MK2

      Hey, just a little while longer till your One, I look forward to hearing about it.

    • irishrally

      You can and many people have.

      • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

        I meant from the Play Store. There was no reason for Facebook to exclude it. It’s fully compatible. -_-

        Sounds more like a corporate move.

    • guitarist5122

      Haven’t had enough time to grieve?

    • androidscales

      have you heard of xda should be there soon

    • Dean Politis

      I do find it interesting that the Nexus 4 is not supported. Isn’t the Nexus 4 the current Android reference phone? I would think that the Nexus 4 represents the base for Android.

    • Del373

      My condolences for your “loss”, but it’s time to give it a rest Chris. Your phone is cracked, not broken. I presume that it still functions and I believe I saw you mention that you are getting the glass repaired. Patience and all will be well.

  • MK2

    Seriously, they take out widgets and folders, two of the great features of Android and they expect people to like it? They’re trying to turn your android phone into an iphone knock off with a facebook face lift. No thanks, but I’ll be sure to stop by and give it 1 star.

    • Del373

      Even the iPhone has folders. FB Home is an even worse experience than the iPhone home screen and that’s saying something.

  • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

    Can someone rip this and upload somewhere? I wanna give it a try.

  • TechGuy22

    no go for my s3. maybe its the rom. ill get an apk

  • http://twitter.com/PhaseBurn PhaseBurn

    I agree with all the one-star reviews. While you make a valid point, Quentyn, that an app should be judged based on what it promises, if HTC released a phone with out-of-this world specs, and promised to only allow you to text between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm on week days, would you not hold it against HTC? The Android home screen has been used for widgets for years, now, and while it’s true, Facebook didn’t promise this behavior, the loss of a core Android feature is a hefty price. Sure, it was never promised, but given that it’s been available for so long, it was sorta “expected”, similarly to how you’d expect your new HTC phone to be able to text 24/7.

  • eidylon

    Just give me a Holo FB app… *WITH A DARK THEME*

    • krYshuT

      I wouldn’t mind current look, just make it fast…

      • eidylon

        Seems fast enough nowadays on my phone, GalS3. I just would like a dark theme, because with an AMOLED screen, it would help with battery life.

  • Chimphappyhour

    Not a Facebook user but as a G+ user, it would drive me nuts to have my phone completely taken over by one single aspect of my smartphone use. I know you can still access the other stuff by digging down, but I don’t want to. If I want social networking, I’ll pick that app.

    • http://twitter.com/bigwhoopitweet BigWhoop

      Yes gplus user! Gplus is getting bigger and bigger, try gplus out after fb home and see what a proper app for a real social network is like.

    • jurrabi

      So then FBH is not for you… Does that make it bad? I don’t think so.

      • Chimphappyhour

        From the sounds of it, it seems it isn’t really for anyone beyond the novelty factor.

  • Dirty Crow

    #failbook

    • moppy

      thats a no no for me ! maybe as a live wallpaper (or not) but as a launcher —> NEXT

    • Sean Royce

      How witty.

  • http://twitter.com/ilovelivecraft Nathan Bryant

    i honestly think it was a HUGE waste of time. i don’t see any benefit from this and utilization of what our phones can already do. fb will find out soon enough. the only thing cool about it is the chat heads. that alone is pretty damn cool. i’m glad the messenger does that by itself and you don’t have to get the launcher to do so. i also like how it can be used as a standard text app as well. pretty darn nice. other than that, this launcher is pretty useless. who wants a bunch of people on their lock screen and with the ads and crazy post now a days who wants to be embarrassed and see something they wouldn’t want to see on their homescreen.

  • http://twitter.com/ilovelivecraft Nathan Bryant

    maybe i just need to delete some people but most people don’t upload nice looking pictures or hi res even at that to make it look nice like it does in the video.

  • Big B

    Horrible as a home screen, ok as a lock screen, i just wish it would show my must current posts, i am seeing stuff that was posted 6 hours ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Durocher/100001020528168 Frank Durocher

    I think they’re failing at it because they are pushing it as a launcher. It really doesn’t even feel like a launcher. It feels more like a lockscreen with shortcuts. That said, it’s a great lockscreen. Seriously. I wish it had a quicker shortcut to the camera, but I’ve uninstalled. I wish other non-stock lockscreens worked so well – I really dislike the TouchWiz one.

  • RaviShah

    Only thing I loved was the chatheads overlay. Very useful

  • josh nolan

    love facebook… but its pretty annoying and definitely makes ur phone…. less useful….

  • Jeff Langsner

    What a let down. I have an HTC One X, but i live in Canada and thus can’t even try it out…Why is this open to US customers only? Because of the AT&T deal with the HTC First phone?

  • bob

    How bout an “I hate Facebook and don’t give a crap” option in your poll? =)

    • http://twitter.com/PhaseBurn PhaseBurn

      Seconded!

    • MttFrog13

      If that’s the case, then why bother reading the article and commenting on it.

      • Sean Royce

        Everyone reserves the right to an opinion.

        • Neil Broadley (Scaine)

          Nope, “don’t give a crap” is his opinion. So why would someone come to page about something they don’t give a crap about?

  • Chimphappyhour

    Oh, I bet she does make $60/hr on the “laptop”. ;P

  • Phillip Meyers

    I installed it, played around with it…it’s a cool app…but using it kinda sucks because it’s all about facebook and all your other apps take a back seat. I missed my apps to much and now I uninstalled it as my launcher. Plus I find the stories it scrolled were not in any order and are old stories. Chat heads are awesome though and I will keep those and right now I am just using Facebook home as my lock screen and not my launcher. I like being able to scroll FB on the lock screen.

  • guitarist5122

    It’s ok. I’d much rather just use the fb app. Uninstalled it after a few min

  • MisterMints

    Not available in the UK

  • HotInEER

    Installed it, tested it, uninstalled it.

  • David Fleck

    If you were coming from iOS FB Home would feel like added functionality and assuming you already use FB would be very cool. Coming from any version of Android, however, FB Home actually removes functionality. I uninstalled but I am using chat heads still. FB is really good looking, but it takes away too much. Make it more like blink feed and it would be better.

  • Crimsonshadow774

    Its actually really cool. This is the first useful update to Facebook in a very long time. Even if I don’t want to keep Home (I miss my widgets :/) I can keep chat heads with Messenger. Facebook thought for once!

    • No_Nickname90

      Um…? Can you unfollow a post from this or do you STILL need to go to the Desktop version to do this? I don’t feel like downloading this. I don’t want to give up my gestures.

  • Nathan Aker

    I tried it on my S3 but it seems useful only if your whole life revolves around Facebook.

  • No_Nickname90

    Um…? All those people that left those review should be shot before sunset. I mean, I haven’t tried the app, but I know there won’t be widgets. Why would you complain about no widgets if you KNOW there won’t be widgets? Its like complaining that Holo Launcher doesn’t have gestures. Like seriously?

    I hate people who leave reviews like that. Especially the ones who download the app just to give it a negative review because they see the app requires the use of something, like root or PayPal.

    • OptimusL

      I think the worst type of reviewers are those that download widgets then leave a 1 star rating because they don’t know how to access the widgets -_-

      • Eric Junior

        Oh, no… the worst are the ones who download an app that *only* works and clearly states in the description that it *only* works on a rooted X phone with a certain custom kernel when they have a factory-fresh unrooted Y phone then leave a 1-star review because it doesn’t work.

        • OptimusL

          Haha yea that’s a very good example, I think the 1 star ratings in WhatsApp are pretty silly as well since a lot of them are pissed off because of the yearly subcription.

  • http://twitter.com/digitalpins digitalpins

    I dont want this….FB please stop trying to get all my info…This takes away from Android experience I dont like nor want this anywhere near my phone. FB is not that important to me to have all over my phone!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/DonteBlair Donte Blair

    Could be cool if my life was all about Facebook and if all my friends were super heavy users who chatted with messenger. That’s not the case so it is pretty useless. Looks pretty though.

    • JWells

      Agree, if one has no life of their own but wants to know when their friends take a breath and exhale and all other manner of useless chatter, then this is the app for you!

  • Josh

    I’m surprised so much hype over such a useless launcher caused. Tried it, I find it awful. Fix the app first fb, then try again with your lackluster launcher.

  • Eric Junior

    It would make a better lock screen replacement than a home screen replacement. It has no widget support, only one app launcher screen, no bottom tray, the app launcher has a lot of “white space” around it, you have to “unlock” it in order to get to said app launcher (hence why it would make a better lock screen), and you can only look at one post at a time (swiping left/right changes to the next/previous post), so it’s not even very practical as a Facebook app.

    Edit: I was wrong about it not having more launcher screens. You just have to drag an app over to the right to add a new screen.

  • rustygh

    i have an android phone with widgets.
    why would i install anything that took over that functionality?

  • JWells

    I’m on Facebook quite a bit, but I want it when I want it, not shoved in my face 100% of the time. I’m not even planning to try it from the videos, screen shots, and comments I’ve heard. It’s probably cool for socialite teens! :)

  • ben7337

    My phone doesn’t have Jelly bean and won’t get it ever, so no luck for me at the moment. Not that I like facebook, but requiring Jellybean, which only like 15-25% of all android smartphones have means that they are marketing to a very small portion of their consumer base. In the USA at least, a good majority of people have facebook, but only half of them have smartphones, and only half of that half have android, and only 20% or so of that half have Jellybean, so only 5% of people in the USA on facebook are even able to install facebook home, and a good portion of them probably don’t follow tech blogs or even know about it.

    • Eric Junior

      FB Home runs on ICS and up.

  • fredphoesh

    Way too much Phoecesbook for me, but the interface is VERY smooth, and very sexy, the overlays, the little floating contact thingamabobs, perhaps google can steal some ideas from this for how the new Babel Chat will work on Key Lime Pie?

    • Eric Junior

      FYI: Chat heads work without FB Home.

  • Gabe

    Doesn’t work on the HTC One X from Sprint (Evo LTE) :/

  • eltiberon

    So it sounds like they have:
    1) an option to leave “widgets on” (I guess in the same layout as the user originally placed them) and

    2) use an always present onscreen button for the app section

    things would be much better.

  • Alu Zeros

    lol, cool concept but not for just facebook. If it incorporated all contacts for phone, sms, chat services, social media, and etc, then yeah. However, with just facebook, can’t seeing it being to hard to multitask with google’s default multitasking between apps being just as easy going back and forth. As far as being on the the lockscreen, plenty of widgets. So, nice effort facebook, but once again facebook thinks it’s bigger than it really is.

  • Quryous

    .

    On, but now off.

    MAN, was that mess annoying.
    .

  • Petter Storm

    Tried it out. Ended up “liking” things unintentionally. Back to Nova launcher with self-tailored layout.

  • TheHowiie

    The fact lock screens are basically useless killed it for me.

  • ZzBallykingzZ

    I installed it just to try it out. I don’t have a supported device but there is a patched version that will work for most phones. It is a nice option for heavy Facebook users only. I wouldn’t recommend it for casual Facebook users or non-Facebook users at all. So if you are checking your Facebook steadily…use Facebook as a major communication form…have a ton of friends on Facebook that you enjoy keeping in contact with….and this is a major part of your social life…well…then Facebook Home was designed for you! It is exactly as what Facebook is selling…Facebook 24/7 first and foremost on your phone.

    For me…I’m a casual Facebook user. Facebook Home is great for keeping up with your Facebook friends but it is just more than what I want out of Facebook on my mobile device. The regular Facebook app is slow but even worse on my device it is a huge battery drain. Friendcaster…the app I was currently using…sometime forgets to notify me when friends post. But it is fast…clean…and a low battery user. All in all…there really isn’t a great Facebook option for Android right now but Friendcaster is the best available IMO for the casual Facebook user.

    Facebook Home is the best Facebook option available for Android for the heavy Facebook users…by far!

    FYI – Google+ is a better social media option for Android but no one I know uses it or wants to move from Facebook.

    This is just my two cents on this subject.