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Geek Girl Report: Turning Your Phone Into A Mobile Facebook – A Closer Look At Facebook Home

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Rumors have been circulating for a while now that Facebook would be coming out with its own phone. And at a press conference last week, it looked at those Facebook would put those rumors to rest. But what Facebook revealed wasn’t a new phone, or even a new operating system. It was Facebook Home, the so-called next step in “bringing mobile and social together.”

So, what is Facebook home, anyway?

Simply put, Facebook Home is a collection of apps for Android smartphones that literately puts Facebook at the center of your phone. “Cover Feed” replaces the standard Android Home screen on your phone with a visually-rich version of Facebook’s News Feed. This means that even when you’re phone is locked, you can still receive Facebook updates from your friends.

Facebook Home also comes with a new messaging service called “Chat Heads.” The “heads” are circular version of your friends’ profile pictures that appear at the top of your phone and notify you when you have new messages from them. You can actively chat and message your friends while you’re doing other things on your phone, like listening to music or using other apps. And if you don’t want to chat, you simply flick the picture off the screen.

Although it wasn’t the Facebook phone everyone was anticipating, Facebook did present a phone at the press conference. HTC’s newest phone, the HTC First, will come with Facebook Home pre-installed on it. Facebook Home, and the HTC First, will be available starting April 12th.

For Facebook’s die-hard fans, this may be great for them. But for the rest of us, myself included, it’s just too much Facebook. As I mentioned before, Facebook Home replaces your Home screen with the News Feed, but it also covers up all of your apps on your Home screen, forcing you to go to the App Launcher to get to your other apps, which I find quite annoying. You shouldn’t have to go through extra hoops to get to your apps on a smartphone.

There’s also the issues of ads popping up all over the place. Facebook has promised that there will be no ads on Facebook Home when it first launches. But don’t be surprised if they figure out a way to incorporate it further down the line.

So my final verdict for Facebook Home is this: only the hardcore Facebookers need apply. The rest of us can live quite comfortably without a Facebook skin over our phones.

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