Facebook’s new mobile experience “Facebook Home” was released for Android devices on April 12, and reached 500,000 downloads this week. Not quite an operating system, and “more than just an app,” Home is designed for use with Android devices and uses multiple gestures to navigate the system. Facebook said Home prominently features apps, without distracting from the user experience.
Facebook Home is a customized version of Android, which acts as a central location for interactivity and utilizes a “family of apps.” According to a Facebook press release, Home’s “Cover Feed” displays friend’s stories and provides access to pictures users can flip through directly from their lock screen. Home also comes with dedicated buttons for chatting with friends and an app launcher which provides quick access to the application on your phone.
According to Facebook’s Developer Blog, Home provides a platform for discovery of apps and a way to re-engage existing customers. The cover feed provides immediate access to apps, so customers interact in a different way than with a traditional lock screen, which only shows notifications. Facebook also notes that the cover feed supports Open Graph stories with user-generated photos at launch.
Aesthetically, Facebook said notifications are bolder and prominent, which promotes an interactive, engaging experience for users. Compared to Apple’s iPhone—which also displays notifications from the lock screen—Facebook hopes the larger notifications grab the attention of users who would normally dismiss a notification on iPhones or traditional Android phones.
Lastly, messaging and discovery is seamless with “Chat Heads” and “App Launcher.” Chat Heads displays messages, similar to apps like BiteSms on iPhone, so users stay in apps longer without distracting messages prompting them to exit the application. Swiping up will present users with the App Launcher, which provides fast access to apps without leaving Home. The draw for developers is Facebook’s mission for re-engagement and new ways to bring an app to the front of the user experience while minimizing distractions.
For the mobile market, advertisers stay engaged with customers via their mobile ads — and with Home inseminating itself into many facets of regular phone use, advertisers increase their chances of exposure and profitable campaigns. Facebook looks for ways to increase its market share in the mobile advertising space, and the release of Home opens the door for more mobile advertising opportunities. According to a report from marketing intelligence firm IDC, Facebook held the No. 1 spot in mobile advertising in 2012, with $234 million in revenue, and the release of Home can only grow those numbers.
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