back to article Facebook skins Android with Facebook Home

Facebook has taken over Android with an application named Facebook Home that slaps a social façade on top of Google's operating system. As expected, the app turns a phone's lock screen into a rolling news feed, implements a new form of social messaging named "chat heads", and sees an entire social-oriented user interface take …


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  1. Piloti

    The IT Crowd.

    FriendFace. This is what I always think of when readong about Facebook.

    Still glad I don't have an account.

    1. Ketlan

      Re: The IT Crowd.

      Ah, FriendFace. Best advert ever!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The IT Crowd.

        Just had to refresh my memory of that... it's even better than Richmond's "From Goth to Boss" advert!*

        *(The radio tells me that as of yesterday, abusing people who choose to wear deliberately ugly clothes -such as scruffier Goths - is a 'hate crime', so i must be careful here. Curiously, 'Metal Rockers' are also on the protected list, but not Mods).

  2. Simon Rockman

    Just what the operators want - Not

    Another over the top player. Unless there is some strategy for the operators to get a slice of whatever the revenue model is expect manufacturers to be asked not to include this as a default when you but a phone though a network.

    1. Katie Saucey

      Re: Just what the operators want - Not

      "..strategy for the operators to get a slice of whatever the revenue model.."

      I would imagine most carriers will be salivating the insane data usage charges.

  3. stephajn
    Thumb Down

    Creepy and SO not necessary

    As if preloading phones with Facebook isn't bad enough, but to make it a Home and Lock Screen app as well? Frightening! Like I REALLY care about what my friends are doing that badly that I have to have that?

    But the other scary part is that if I ever had a Facebook account and I posted something, then if one of my friends who is goofy enough to have this app installed is seeing what I posted even on their LOCK screen, then yes, it is like hanging me out to dry whether I want to be or not!

    Frankly, I just can't stress enough to my family and friends how dangerous a place Facebook is and how much it is just not necessary or welcome or desired in the slightest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Creepy and SO not necessary

      Upvote from me, I couldn't agree more. I wish our family and friends could see these dangers for themselves without having someone else raise the issues.

    2. davidp231

      Re: Creepy and SO not necessary

      Just wait til the decide to pull the normal app completely and make this new pile of tripe mandatory, lest you settle for the mobile/touch versions of the site - which most end users (ie not El Reg readers) will be happy doing.

      So glad I've ditched Android...

  4. Flawless101

    You know what I don't need?


    I'm just glad rooting and custom are options. I thought the crap HTC and Samsung bake into the OS was bad enough, don't even get me started on what network operators throw in.

    Fuck I just to install a few simple apps on, read a few emails, listen to music and send texts and phone calls. I think I spend more time maintaining my phone now than I do my PC(s).

    1. Bill the Sys Admin

      Re: You know what I don't need?

      "I think I spend more time maintaining my phone now than I do my PC"

      Haha so true! I was so angry to see when I installed the latest update on my Samsung S3 that it reinstalled the Facebook application I had already removed!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry - already sold my soul to google

    Nothing left for anyone else.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Sorry - already sold my soul to google

      Facebook can sell you a refurbished soul - slightly tarnished, one careless owner.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry - already sold my soul to google

        Re: Sorry - already sold my soul to google

        Facebook can sell you a refurbished soul - slightly tarnished, 1/2 billion careless owners.

    2. Geoff Campbell

      Re: Sorry - already sold my soul to google

      I sold my sole to them instead. Didn't get as much, but it leaves me more wiggle room in future.


  6. stu_ekins

    Is that it? An app and a front screen.

    I wasn't expecting much, tbh, but what a load of over-hyped shite.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Welcome to social media.

  7. adnim

    And the one redeeming feature is...

    One can choose whether or not to install the app or buy the device.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "...deeply technical...deeply social...our culture and our community is deeply built"

    And our consumers/resources are deeply expected to deep throat the lot

  9. Serge 2

    I just want to say that I dislike Facebook and everything that comes out of it. More so, I think that social networks are for narcissistic, egoistic and pretty low intelect folk who has nothing worth while to say or share with the rest of us.

    1. dz-015

      You might want to learn how to spell before you start criticising the intellectual capabilities of others.

    2. That Awful Puppy

      In a sense, I do agree with you. On the other hand, my mates and I are now so deeply embroiled with our everyday lives, we don't really find much time to go out for a beer, and social networks are a decent-ish way of staying in touch. Not the best way, I agree, but better than nothing.

      That being said, there is an enormous amount of sheer twattery going on on social networks, but then again, one can easily block said perpetrators of twattery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "my mates and I are now so deeply embroiled with our everyday lives, we don't really find much time to go out for a beer, and social networks are a decent-ish way of staying in touch. Not the best way, I agree, but better than nothing."

        For me, a mate IS someone I see/share experiences with.

        Maybe as you age you will look back and think.........

        1. That Awful Puppy

          >For me, a mate IS someone I see/share experiences with.

          Maybe as you age you will look back and think.........

          Apparently, the ageing bit has already happened, alas.

          The mates I refer to I did see and share experiences with, and lots of them, most of which I wouldn't entrust a social network with, it's just that kids and families and jobs tend to mean we don't have so much time to share new ones.

          In a sense, it is a very sad situation, sort of the end of an era, and in another sense, well, if we can't see each other so much because of kids and families and jobs, it's not such a bad reason, is it? And if I can use social networks to share my latest musical obsession with them, or a fantastic movie I just saw, well, social networks really aren't such a bad thing, are they?

          On the other hand, the amount and intimacy of shit youngsters post on social media is just astonishing. But then again, who am I to judge, being a jaded old fart.

    3. Geoff Campbell


      As with so many things in life, you get out of social networking sites exactly what you put in. I was Facebook to keep in touch with a bunch of friends around the country, and threads often develop discussing a whole bunch of intellectual stuff.

      Watching the young teenagers is quite amusing, though. Better get a pension plan sorted out, 'cos that lot aren't going to supporting us...


    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I just want to say that I dislike Facebook and everything that comes out of it. More so, I think that social networks are for narcissistic, egoistic and pretty low intelect folk who has nothing worth while to say or share with the rest of us."

      Jeremy Kyle anyone?

  10. Mick Stranahan

    "None of the staffers demoing the app were able to tell us if it's possible to put a lock screen in front of this."

    hmm....I suspect said staffers where taken aback by the the question - the whole point of Facebook Home is that there isn't a lock screen.

    If you want a dumb lock screen you don't use an app that punts live data onto a live lock screen (which is essentially what Facebook Home is) to start with.

    What you asked was the same as "does the app have the functionality to do something entirely contradictory to the very point of the app?"

    I wouldn't want a live social feed showing on my phone all the time. but I know plenty of Facebook users who would.

    That's no skin off my nose 'cos I post nothing to my Facebook account that I wouldn't be happy with anyone seeing.

    1. stu_ekins

      "That's no skin off my nose 'cos I post nothing to my Facebook account that I wouldn't be happy with anyone seeing."

      This is exactly the approach that I tell my family members to take. They still don't seem to understand or care.

  11. WylieCoyoteUK

    Considreing that many users are departing FB, I can't see this reversing the trend.

  12. Vector

    '"We think this is the best version of Facebook there is," he said, before stressing that in five to ten years a billion internet users will have no idea what a traditional computer is, as they will have grown up using tablets and smartphones.'

    ...and, IMHO, they'll hardly remember what Facebook is either.

    1. Mark .

      Agreed. Though I'm still waiting for this long awaited death of a "traditional" computer. Children today have grown up with *smartphones and laptops*, and some with tablets too. And what about office work - do the offices of Facebook have everyone sitting around working on a smartphone?

      In the 1980s, computers were either a box that sat under the monitor, or perhaps with built-in keyboards. I'm sure there are younger people today unaware of that, but I don't recall people referring to them as "traditional" computers as if today's computers aren't traditional computers. Or someone from the 1960s saying that "traditional" computers won't exist in the future, because they'll no longer take up an office room. There will be no death of "traditional computers", it's just that forms will change with time.

      Having said that, I agree that there are already perhaps a billion users today using the Internet without "traditional computers", but they don't use traditional smartphones or traditional tablets either, and have been giving Internet access by the billions of other Internet enabled phones sold around the world...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "But always – do not forget this, Winston – always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever."

  14. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Go for it, bitch

    Install Facebook Home and show everyone who looks in the general direction of your mobile photo after photo of you drunk and vomiting posted by your friends! Luckily the embarrassment will only last half an hour as your battery life will be hammered by the constant stream of photos, updates, and adverts coming down the data connection and the display backlight being constantly lit!

    If that doesn't make Facebook usees understand what they've signed up to, nothing will. They'll probably lose several thousand people within weeks.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This surely has to raise some serious questions in relation to the Data Protection Act. All companies dealing in sensitive information have a legal obligation to ensure that information is kept secure and displaying a live feed of people's information is not exactly secure.

    While it could be argued that its the responsibility of the person who installed the app it doesn't hold water;

    A) Facebook have it in their T&Cs that anything done on Facebook becomes the property of Facebook, the app installer has no rights to the information and therefore no legal responsibilities for it.

    B) It is not the app installer's data being broadcast and the app installer can only be held responsible for their own data.

    C) Facebook's code enables the public broadcast of other people's personal information.

    Also not sure if it needs to be corrected in the main article but Orange doesn't exist in the UK anymore, they were bought out by EE and rebranded as EE making it the same entity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Orange doesn't exist in the uk...

      Oh but it does. Orange and T-Mobile merged in the UK; they needed a new moniker, so in a staggering outburst of joined up creativity over a pint or two at the Black Pudding and Whippet, they decided not to be bothered with a proper name, instead making a rod for their own backs with the staggeringly original "Everything Everywhere", presumably partly on the basis that it was so waffly and inexplicable, they'd be forced to come up with something properly imaginative post-haste. A year or two went by in which they were mercilessly ribbed by their victims; "Nothing, Anywhere. At all" merely being one of the last in an endless queue of puns. They still didn't really do joined up and no one (Anywhere) really knew what Everything Everywhere (or not) was.

      Crunch time again! With the windfall instant 4G mini monopoly gifted to them by their compliant friends at the tame, toothless regulator Ofcom, they put together a budget large enough to drink the Black Pudding and Whippet dry, and headed to the bar. A week later, those who believed themselves the finest business minds of their generation staggered into the morning light, groggy and bruised but with a Plan and a piece of rather scruffy paper held proudly aloft by young Bob from "Brand Solutions" who'd had the Great Idea sometime the previous evening and had worked tirelessly with his Implementation Working Group to delete all the letters that weren't "E"s (they got a bit carried away during the karaoke) to produce "EE". The world paused spinning on its axis for a heart stopping instant as "4GEE" hit an unsuspecting, and as it turned out, entirely uninterested world.

      So fazed by the lack of punters emptying their wallets in awe at the range of overpriced, undersized data plans and battery flattening phones, they went back to doing what they'd done so brilliantly for the previous two years; being Orange and T-Mobile, and wishing the other thing would just go away.

      Coat Bitte Garçon!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They still exist in a way... they are just the non-4G arm of EE and still separate (you don't login to EE's website to manage your Orange or T-Mobile phone for example), despite the fact they both say EE on their home screen. They have to still exist in some fashion for "competition purposes" or some bollockese like that. Or one could buy a handset which isn't available on the other network and just slap their SIM straight in - and that network has just lost a shiny sale. Vodafone and O2 will probably do a similar thing when they finally become VodaO2 or whatever they decide on for their 4G service.

  16. Eddy Ito

    Even ET would be scared

    This isn't what the poor little fella had in mind and I'm fairly sure we all know where this phone's home is.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last chance saloon...

    This is like being faced with the Battle of the Atlantic, and turning up with two small rowing boats and half a dozen muskets. "The markets" have made it quite clear that for Farcebook to retain the "silly money" value their shares just manage to hold on to, they've got to milk mobile advertising dry. Last year everyone predicted a FB mobile, but after a flurry of market moistening announcements instead got an accretion of spun Zuckerberg fluff branded as the "social graph", making the share price head shamefacedly back to the basement.

    "It's about people' not apps" sounds great at a press launch (OK, it does to the kind of people that might attend one), but I'm guessing most people want to use more than one thing on their phone, and I wonder how many will balk at a two year contract experiment in having to fight their way past an insistent FB front end to get to the other things they might want to do, the mere apps. They might want to gently introduce the idea of an ad stuffed home screen, but mobile screens are unlikely to get much bigger and the history of the web shows very clearly that there are pretty hard limits to how much ad drivel you can force feed users before they bite back hard. And privacy is now snapping hard at their heels; pretty much any user who can count past five knows that any FB announcement is by definition followed by a sharp reduction in their personal privacy - the ones that don't get that aren't much use to advertisers in any case.

    Two "big" announcements that really weren't on a falling share price looks like increasing desperation has set in after the shoeing handed out to FB shares after launch - I'm sorry but whoever came up with "chat heads" as a Big Idea clearly lacked the playground lavatorial puns element so vital to a properly rounded education. The predictable squeals from the trough at the IPO obscured the fact that FB is at best a stepping stone in the long evolution of the internet as a social tool, little more important in that process than bulletin boards, irc, usenet, forums, blogs and email were in their heydays (remember hotmail?), just bigger, brasher, louder; a forced collectivisation by peer pressure that might just have appealed to Stalin had he been a venture capitalist, or given the substance thin theatricality, P.T. Barnum.

    My guess is that the top of FBs arc was just before the IPO, with the steepness of the final descent to be determined by the gullibility of investors, the number of future half baked ideas Zuck brings forth and the relentless, unforgiving size of the tiny screen the company's future is wedded to.

  18. petef

    All your face are belong to us


  19. Lutin

    I've never seen anything incite so much nerd rage as Facebook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I've never seen anything incite so much nerd rage as Facebook."

      Are you new?

      Err, iPhone/Android.

  20. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Suggested names

    The initial Facebook Home phone (FaceMob? SocialSlab?)

    We could try: FaceFone

    or PhacePhone, PhaceFone, FacePhone...

    Or if you prefer slab, then it should be SlaveSlab.

    1. Toothpick

      Re: Suggested names


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggested names


  21. Electric Panda

    Android only

    I sincerely hope Apple's garden walls prevent this from ever seeing the light of day on iDevices. Hopefully BlackBerry and the 17 WinPhone users in the world will be spared too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android only

      Ha! Typical MS shill inflating WinPhone user numbers again.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "if you're either a keen user of social networks, or a young person just starting out in the digital world, then boy oh boy Zuck & Co have just the thing to hook you" where older/wiser users can see though the facade like a pane of glass.

    Web2.0rrhea needs to be tamed, pass the immodium (or other brand of settler)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember the INQ "Facebook phone"?

    Phone of the Year at the 2009 GSMA Awards. Facebook home page, IIRC. Seems no-one wanted it. Gone, already. So there's still hope for the world.

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