Facebook Home downloads reach 500k in five days — does Facebook need to worry?


When Facebook launched its home replacement application, simply dubbed Facebook Home, it was met with tons of mixed reactions. Some commended the application’s functionality for providing a smooth and beautiful way to keep tabs on Facebook life, while others simply couldn’t deal with giving up key Android functionality to be bugged with status updates and Facebook pictures 24/7. Thankfully, it isn’t a requirement to use Facebook Home in order to use Facebook on Android, so if users didn’t want it they didn’t have to put up with it.

Well, we now have some hard numbers to see just how many people decided to give the app a chance. The application has been downloaded at least 500,000 times since it launched according to the Google Play Store. The milestone is said to have been reached in five days, but for the time being we can only confirm it just reached that number yesterday. Regardless, 500,000 doesn’t seem like a huge number in the Facebook world, a world that consists of just over a billion inhabitants.

Compare that to Instagram for Android, which hit 1 million downloads in its first day and 5 million downloads in just under a week, and you can see why this is considered under-performing for the social network. Factor in the possibility that many of those 500,000 downloads might no longer be active users (I know I uninstalled it shortly after giving it a shot) and it’s clear to see why the number is seen as a rocky start for Zuckerberg and Friends.

So why is it failing to become the mega hit that Facebook wants? There are a number of significant factors at play here. The biggest thing hurting Facebook’s chances might be the limited device availability. The list of compatible devices is small enough to fit on the palm of my hand, and some of those devices — such as the HTC One and the HTC First — are fairly new with limited install bases. (Be sure to read the HTC One review and HTC First review.)

It also doesn’t help that the app was only available in the United States until a few days after launch. If Facebook were to launch this thing on a wider scale ala the official Facebook app things might have turned out a lot differently. Facebook Home can be installed on almost any device through hacked APKs, of course, but most users aren’t hip to that scene.

Awareness shouldn’t be an issue as Facebook has drummed up a lot of noise regarding Facebook Home both leading up to its unveiling and after launch. The social network has even gone as far as launching a major television advertising campaign for the new experience, meaning a whole lot of folks who don’t read tech blogs should know about it.

It’s tough to say whether or not Facebook Home’s slow adoption rate can be seen as a failure when considering the aforementioned factors, but we imagine Facebook would like to, at the very least, have hit one million downloads by now. Facebook Home isn’t a make-or-break deal for the company right now, but there’s no doubt it eventually wants this to become the Facebook experience for mobile devices.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Considering of the 11,375 reviews (at the time of this writing), 5,891 are 1 star (slightly over half)… yeah, Facebook should worry.

    1. I’d be interested in knowing how many of them are just colossal a-hole griefers just showing up to 1 star a home screen replacement they’ve never used simply because it’s Facebook? I used it just to see what it was all about… it’s nice, fast, and simple. I uninstalled it since I have no need for it… but it doesn’t change the fact it was a good app.

      1. “I uninstalled it since I have no need for it…” – what would you rate an app that you had no need for? Isn’t the “need” a component of the rating?

        1. a) I didn’t leave a rating
          b) absolutely not. People review things all the time they don’t continue to use, or need, on a daily basis.

        2. Pinterest is an awesome application, but I have no use for it: 1 star.

          Barcode scanner, great app but I have no use for it: 1 star.

  2. How many uninstalls? Do they still track that?

    1. I think that’s the most important thing to worry about.

  3. I knew before I installed it I would be uninstalling it soon after, but I was obligated to play around with it.

  4. But instagram had a proven record. It was already big on iPhone and people were waiting for it on android. Home has to prove itself first before it becomes a hype. So not really a fair comparison.

    Also, the comparison to the just over a billion fb users is a bit useless. We don’t know the amount that has a compatible android phone. Nor anything about regional differences (is the app available to all those with eligible devices and has the marketing reached those regions yet?)

    All in all, I think it is too early to tell. Remember G+ being a ghost town at first and now it’s swarming with activity (<– personal finding)

    Then again idc if fb has it hard…g+ is better anyway :D

    1. You also have people like my parents, who even if they had a compatible phone are completely unaware there’s a thing called a launcher, and even if I told them, they’d just come back with “I’m fine with the way it is”.

      1. Excactly!
        And it is not just the parents or older folk, lots of younger people haven’t a clue when it comes to launchers.

  5. Yea but how many uninstalled it?

  6. I uninstalled it after a few minutes of playing around with it. It was highly annoying

  7. An app that’s only available on a limited number of phones, and you’re talking about worrying about the number of downloads?? That seems to be a bit of reach, doesn’t it?? It’s pretty much a beta launch.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Small number of compatible phones, only available in one county – Facebook shouldn’t be worried about the number of downloads yet. As squiddy20 mentioned, they should be more concerned about how it’s received than its download rate at this point.

    2. Exactly, I’d at least install for a short while to play with it if it was availible for my Galaxy Nexus. It’s not like it does much more than the normal Facebook app and Messenger app do anyway right?

  8. The limited availability of the app is surely responsible for the low install numbers. I can’t see many people sticking with it (I tested the modded version on my N4) but EVERYONE is going to try it out.

  9. Of those 500’000 many also have deleted the app again, because the ratings are terrible, with these ratings I won’t even bother to download and look at the app. The problem here is, that this is basically another home replacement app, and there are many other there that do a much better job, where as Nova Launcher for example ads features and customizability, FB Home actually has less options than stock Android or Sense or Touch wiz and so on.

  10. it’s a pointless idea…. with the app it’s fine alone. no need to exaggerate Facebook anymore

  11. Facebook has little reason to worry as they’re not going anywhere anytime soon… their shareholders on the other hand have expressed deep “worry”

  12. the only thing i have to say they should have combine them together for the note 2 having two facebook app on a phone is pointless but i do like the facebook home though

  13. You know, it’s OK to come up with things that don’t work out at first. It’s not as if people were lining up in Times Square for the the original Android G1. But look at where Android is today.

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