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A Facebook User's Take On Facebook Home

A Facebook User's Take On Facebook Home

by Brad MerrillMay 1, 2013

I think one of the biggest problems with the whole Facebook Home conversation is that too many people who don’t like Facebook want to review it. Home is not for non-Facebook users, so it doesn’t make much sense to say ‘I hate Facebook, but here’s what I think of Home.’

Like most people, I do use Facebook. I’m not obsessed, but I do check it every day. My friends and family use it, it’s a useful service, and I find a lot of its content interesting. But replacing core Android experiences, like SMS and your homescreen, with Facebook? While it just sits on top of Android, it’s still a major change and one I’m quite unsure of.

As you would expect, Home is essentially a horizontal News Feed. When you install it, you have to understand that the first thing you see every time you use your phone will be Facebook. Wallpaper doesn’t exist—that’s replaced by a feed of recent photos from your friends. Notifications are just Facebook notifications in a clean interface: swipe to remove, tap to view.

But that’s what’s wrong with Home. I don’t have a problem with blurry photos, inconsistent updates, or sporadic update intervals. The problem lies with how you use your phone.

[quote_right]HOME SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK IN A WORLD WHERE IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE FOR YOUR BOSS, YOUR SPOUSE, OR YOUR FRIENDS TO SEE YOUR PHONE.[/quote_right]

For most people, Facebook Home will not work. For me, the majority of posts on my Facebook News Feed are great. Photos are relevant and all is calm. But occasionally, an inappropriate status update or an awkward photo—the kind I would usually skip over—takes over my screen. Whether it’s an F-bomb or an embarrassing photo, Facebook Home simply doesn’t work in a world where it’s entirely possible for your boss, your spouse, or your friends to see your phone.

I believe in purging my Facebook friends regularly as soon as something I don’t like pops up. But if you don’t work really hard to filter out the crap—and I mean be really strict—Facebook Home can lead to nothing but embarrassment.

And that’s a shame, because other than that, Home is pretty damn good.

Animations are smooth, even iPhone-like, apps work well, talk and text are perfect—it’s gorgeous. While Facebook cheated in the promo screenshots, using professional-quality photos, it actually does look great. And Chat Heads, the unobtrusive but always available Facebook messages, are brilliant, never disrupting what you’re doing. Fantastic.

There are no folders, and Facebook definitely has issues filtering good content from bad content—but when you look past that, Facebook has created a very distinctive, innovative product for a more social phone experience. And it’s beautiful. For me, though—I like having a nice wallpaper and a hidden News Feed.

About The Author
Brad Merrill
Brad Merrill is the founder and former editor of VentureBreak.