Although one of the most noteworthy and impactful ideas of the 21st century, Facebook has lost some steam. A company built for moving life and interaction to internet browsers has not adapted as seamlessly with the mobile growth and culture that has occurred in just the last few years.
The biggest mistake Facebook has made (as acknowledged by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO) was hedging a bet against mobile apps. Predicting that apps were fleeting, and that we would eventually use our phones in the same capacity that we use our desktops, Facebook spent considerable time and effort on optimizing their website for mobile phones. There were a few problems. The multiple bugs that made the site repeatedly crash and painfully slow weren’t just a quick fix. Frustrations and numerous poor reviews by customers were more than Facebook could toss aside. In 2011 they made the decision to start over and build custom apps for each OS, in a move that changed the developing culture at Facebook. Fast forward a couple years, and not only has Facebook made leaps and bounds to improve their mobile presence, but they’re rewriting the whole experience, cue Facebook Home. Facebook Home is an integration with the Android OS that allows Facebook to be the lock screen on your device. From what we’ve seen so far of Facebook Home you will be able to browse pictures, see status updates, and send and receive messages, without ever having to activate or engage an app. Facebook Home will be first released on the new HTC First, and will be available for download on several existing Android devices as well. The creation of Facebook Home could be a game changer for the social network, and eliminates the need and potential overhead of creating a mobile phone specifically for Facebook.
Although in itself Facebook Home is a new idea, we can’t help but be reminded of Windows Phone’s Live Tiles. The ability to have content that is customized to your interests and social life immediately displayed on the home screen of your phone seems to be the connecting idea. While Facebook is just one piece of the puzzle that is Live Tiles, you have to wonder how much traction Facebook Home will get by being the only auto-populating screen on your phone?
So what does this mean for the future of smartphones, and life as we know it? Will having Facebook so easily integrated with our mobile devices cause us to spend more time than we already do interacting with technology instead of those around us? How will this change the game for other companies that are trying to further intertwine themselves into our lives and our smartphones? Will they have the capability to be our first thought as soon as we power up our devices in the morning and as we set them down as our heads hit our pillows at night? How do you feel about Facebook Home? Are you intrigued, wary, or excited about this new technology?