Our view: Facebook Home: innovative, but a little obnoxious

DKS Editors

Mark Zuckerberg announced plans Thursday for the “Facebook phone,” and it turns out it’s not really a phone at all. The new software, called “Facebook Home,” is a software designed for Android phones with Jellybean, Android’s latest operating system. A new phone, called the HTC First, will be the first phone released with Facebook Home preloaded into its system exclusively for AT&T customers. Zuckerberg said there are no current plans for an iPhone version.

Facebook Home’s main feature is the Cover Feed, which appears like a screensaver upon turning on your phone. A steady stream of newsfeed updates pans across the screen, with your profile picture ever-present at the bottom of the screen. Messages and emails pop up on the screen with your friends’ faces (assuming their contacts are linked to Facebook accounts), and you have the option to answer right away or hide the messages. You can also access apps and other main settings by clicking on your profile picture at any time. Another main function is “chat heads,” which allows you to have continuous conversations with your friends while using apps and performing other tasks on your phone. The person’s photo appears in a bubble on the screen, and you can click it at any time to respond to them.

We have mixed reactions about Facebook Home, although we all agree on certain points. As it stands, Facebook Home does not have advertisements included in its Cover Feed, but Facebook executives say they are in the process of developing ad units for the software. We think the idea of having “chat heads” will be convenient — although, as one of our staff members pointed out, the word “chat heads” is kind of obnoxious. We do have to say, overall, that the idea of a constant Facebook presence on our phones is a bit daunting. People spend enough time on Facebook without it being the first thing they see when they turn on their phones. Zuckerberg advertised the new software as a “people first” tool, but are we to the point that stalking people’s Facebook photos and posts has replaced interacting with real people? There’s also the problem of how much data will be taken up if Facebook is constantly running on your phone. Only time will tell whether the public embraces Facebook’s new technology, but at the moment, we’re a little skeptical.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater Editorial Board.