Facebook Home...is it any good?

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The Concept and Interface

The concept behind Facebook Home is an interesting one. You will be completely enshrined in a Facebook world. From the moment you wake the device up to when you put it to sleep, you are constantly barraged with friend's post, photos, and messenger notifications. The question is if that is a good thing?

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Let's start by looking at the interface. When you wake your device up you are greeted with an elegant view of the latest post or photo uploaded by a friend. Layered on top of that are notifications from your Facebook account and messenger. At the bottom is your profile picture.

From here, you can either click on a notification or begin swiping to the right and checking out other updates to your news feed. It does this in a very elegant way, layering cover photos behind status updates and uploaded photos behind their description.

Liking a status update or post is as easy and double tapping the screen. I have accidentally done this a few times, but there is an easy way to unlike things. If you look in the bottom left of the screen you will see a like icon and comments icon. Clicking those will initiate either a like or open a comment pop up.

You can also single tap the screen and pull up your profile picture. Then throwing the photo in different directions open different apps or the launcher. Throw the photo right, the most recent app is opened. Throw to the left and messenger opens. Throw it up and it opens the app drawer.

When in the app drawer you can have pages of favorite apps that you can organize. Swiping left will bring you to all of your apps. If you scroll down the page of all your apps you find a “More...” button. Clicking on that brings up the stock Android launcher. I find it interesting that they allow that as a function of Facebook Home.

The App Drawer

You would need that stock Android launcher to add any widgets. Facebook Home does not support widgets in it's interface yet. Which is one of my main complaints. Hopefully, they find a way to integrate that into the Facebook Home experience.

Messenger/Chat Heads

The one area of Facebook Home that I enjoyed more than the others was the Messenger features, although there are still major flaws. The concept, when fully implemented, is what excites me.

Chat head pop up interface

Chat head pop up interface

Starting with the positive aspects, Messenger integrates SMS and Facebook Chat into one interface. If you were to hold down on a conversation you would have the option to “Pop out chat head”. This puts a chat head of the person you are texting or messaging on the home screen. You can have up to four chat heads active at one time. This is useful when wanting to quickly respond and it is interesting to have the chat heads follow you around as you use Home.

Messenger App

Now for the negative aspects. There is no MMS support at this time, although I am sure they will be adding it down the road. Also, when using the chat head pop up interface you will sometimes lose drafts and cannot properly copy text. You must go into the full messenger app for those features.

Overall, I prefer the concept of people be the focus of my phone, rather than apps.

Final Thoughts

In the end, this is a 1.0 release. So it will not have every feature you need, but the concepts are heading in the right direction. I'd say if you were looking to try a new way to use your phone, Facebook Home would be quite a change. I did enjoy the change and may stick with it even after finishing this review. I hope for more features and I am sure Facebook has more up it's sleeves.

And to answer the question from early, is being constantly barraged with friend's post, photos, and messenger notifications a good thing? I think it is a refreshing view on how one could use a phone and if you are a heavy Facebook user, it is a good thing.