Facebook Home: Not Quite the Facebook Phone, But Pretty Close


Fri, Apr 5th, 2013 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Facebook Home app will quite literally turn your phone into an extension of Facebook, making it real hard not to know what your friends are doing. They’re even selling HTC First for a meagre $99 all ready to go: just log into Facebook.

With Home, everything on your phone gets friendlier. From the moment you turn it on, you see a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos. Upfront notifications and quick access to your essentials mean you’ll never miss a moment. And you can keep chatting with friends, even when you’re using other apps.

It’s all part of Facebook Home — there’s no other phone, app or operating system like it.

As soon as you turn on your phone or press the home button, you see a stream of posts from News Feed.

Cover feed puts the spotlight on whatever friends are sharing now — photos, status updates, links and more.

And as you can guess, not everyone is impressed — and for good reasons:

The new Home app/UX/quasi-OS is deeply integrated into the Android environment. It takes an effort to shut it down, because Home’s whole premise is to be always on and be the dashboard to your social world. It wants to be the start button for apps that are on your Android device, which in turn will give Facebook a deep insight on what is popular. And of course, it can build an app that mimics the functionality of that popular, fast-growing mobile app. I have seen it done before, both on other platforms and on Facebook.

But there is a bigger worry. The phone’s GPS can send constant information back to the Facebook servers, telling it your whereabouts at any time.

So if your phone doesn’t move from a single location between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for say a week or so, Facebook can quickly deduce the location of your home. Facebook will be able to pinpoint on a map where your home is, whether you share your personal address with the site or not. It can start to build a bigger and better profile of you on its servers. It can start to correlate all of your relationships, all of the places you shop, all of the restaurants you dine in and other such data. The data from accelerometer inside your phone could tell it if you are walking, running or driving. As Zuckerberg said — unlike the iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well.



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