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Hands-on impressions of Facebook Home after 24 hours of use

Hands-on impressions of Facebook Home after 24 hours of use
The testing of Facebook Home had to be delayed a bit, because it took the good fellows over at XDA a day to hack the app to run on my Nexus 4, but the testing has been done. And, the results will likely surprise you (it certainly surprised me). First of all, you need to know a few things about the reviewer here, because that info is important to the review. 

I'm not really a big Facebook user. As I have mentioned in other articles, I'm much deeper into Google+, and tend to only use Facebook for checking out pictures of friends that live far away. I rarely post to Facebook, and only share to the service about half of the links that get shared to my Google+. I almost never "like" anything except maybe some baby pics from my best friends. I'm one of those people who tends to compulsively check my phone every once in awhile, regardless of if there has been a notification or not. Facebook Home gives me a constant stream of new stuff that's always there. And, because it's stuff from my friends, it's stuff that I am interested in.

When I first installed Facebook Home, I expected to play around with it for a few hours, see what it was all about, then remove it. But, it has been about 24 hours now, and it doesn't look like Facebook Home is going to be uninstalled anytime soon. 

The power of Cover Feed 

Plenty of people are predisposed to disliking Facebook for whatever reason you want to choose: the company has had trouble with privacy issues, a bit shady on what it does with your data, etc. But, Facebook Home is the core of Facebook: an easy way to connect with your friends and family. The power of Facebook is in being the link to the people you love, and that's why Home works so well, because Cover Feed is the best way to really feel that connection. Even if a post is nothing but text, Cover Feed shows the person's cover photo in the background, making it feel more visual.

Hands-on impressions of Facebook Home after 24 hours of use
Facebook Home is not perfect, and it is most definitely not for everyone, but it has been surprisingly sticky for me. Going into it, I fully expected to miss my widgets and folders. I expected to miss Android, but I really haven't. I've found that I really don't need my homescreens. I always had widgets set up, but in general I used them more as a way to launch into an app than anything else, with the exception of the weather widget. 

Even though Facebook Home has taken over my homescreen, Android is still there, and Google is very present. The search bar widget is unnecessary with Google Now, which also gives me sports scores and plenty more. The Android multitasking trays has become my default way of getting around, rather than dropping back to the homescreen to tap an icon. Admittedly, it helps that a lot of my usage has been off-loaded to my Nexus 7, so there are really only a handful of apps I use on my phone anyway. My phone is more for searches, navigation, and whatever comes through notifications. 

Facebook has worked its algorithm quite well, so you don't see the same post too many times. Of course, this all depends on how many friends you have and how active they are. I've got just under 300 friends, and I'd actually like to see more content in my Cover Feed. So, I'm strongly considering following more of my usual news sources, so I can get the latest news right through Facebook Home, rather than jumping into Feedly.

Chatheads works well, as has been said by many other sources. The UI makes it incredibly easy to carry on a conversation, or set things aside while you're doing something else. I didn't find it all that engaging though, because I am more apt to use Google Talk and Google Voice for communication, and not Facebook Messenger and SMS. 

Conclusion

All that to say, Facebook Home has hooked me. So much so, that I may actually end up adding more to my Facebook world, and the key to it has been the Cover Feed, not the more widely praised feature of Chatheads. It's just easier to engage, and the visual punch of Cover Feed makes it the best way to run through your Facebook feed to date. The "like" sound is quite addictive, and has been part of the reason I've liked more things on Facebook in the past 24 hours than in the month before that.

If you're predisposed to hating Facebook, none of this will make any difference to you. Of course, if you're predisposed to hate Facebook, you have no reason to care about Facebook Home or the contents of this article. But, if you're on the fence or even just a bit intrigued, Facebook Home could surprise you. 

21 Comments
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posted on 14 Apr 2013, 20:46 2

1. jgcaap (Posts: 36; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)


i didnt like it much but it was a nice idea from facebook. hope they improve :)

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 20:49 11

2. lovenyc8 (Posts: 164; Member since: 13 Mar 2013)


i hate it its garbage i removed it

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 21:17 4

3. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5561; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


yeah, i have similar views as you on Facebook Home Michael except i might be a little more plugged into Facebook. i'm still contemplating using it on my MAXX HD.

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 21:22 2

4. XperiaPrince (Posts: 108; Member since: 25 Dec 2012)


I will try this on my galaxy tab 2 7.0. Im gonna give facebook home a chance and see if this really suits me.

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 21:25 3

5. blazee (Posts: 261; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


why would anyone hate fb?

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 21:30 2

6. Bozzor (Posts: 109; Member since: 02 May 2012)


I suspect FB will be bowled over by this article: if it was overly negative then FB has failed, but if it was overly positive, then that would likely be see as a short lived love affair that would not last. But a moderate FB user, coming into the system with low expectations, but being pleasantly surprised and not finding too many things to get even slightly annoyed about, that is a huge win for the software.

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 22:26 1

7. jcpwn2004 (Posts: 314; Member since: 18 Jan 2012)


Does the apk work for gs2?

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 23:12 1

8. joseph98 (Posts: 167; Member since: 03 Feb 2012)


installed it in my GN2 but kept the touchwiz from sumsung as my default home. Not bad at all.

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 23:13 1

9. cezarepc (Posts: 562; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


I tried it out on my Nexus7 and been on it for more than a day now. Pretty surprised that battery is not draining as I expect it to be. I'm not deep into Facebook too but I do like looking at pics and idiot posts of my friends. FB messenger is also the main communication tool my fiance and I use when we're not together. So, I'd say FB Home fits neatly into my usage model. And I like the cover feed too, I'm not talking about functionality, it's just a damn pretty eye candy.

posted on 14 Apr 2013, 23:36

10. GeekMovement (Posts: 1499; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Have it on my Galaxy S III, but I realized that I prefer the stock android ui still and that's probably because I'm not an active user on Facebook as much as others, but it's a cool feature to have.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 00:13

11. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


I sideloaded it for 7 minutes and uninstalled it because i did not like it

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 00:32

12. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 163; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Will there be an instagram and a netflix phone coming soon?

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 00:37

13. tigermcm (Posts: 695; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)


nope twitter first

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 01:11

14. XperiaPrince (Posts: 108; Member since: 25 Dec 2012)


Its not bad but it is not for me. I think it is uglier than touchwiz. Not bad.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 01:31

15. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


And how is this not a threat to Google?
It will:
A) pull people away from Google services, and feed Facebook services instead
B) put the last nail in the hopes of Google + turning into a competitor

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 01:41

16. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5561; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


it's really only a threat to G+ but G+ has been immensely threatened by Facebook coming out of the gate.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 05:00

18. cezarepc (Posts: 562; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


What Google service will people pull away from?

Also, Google+ and FB have very different sets of users. Like iOS and Android. FB Home just gives existing users something more, but will not in anyway pull G+ users.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 07:22

19. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


It will kick Google ads out. The worst thing it can do to Android.
It's Facebook we're taking here..something that's even bigger than Android.

http://m.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/facebook-home-android-s-worst-nightmare--1142659

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 07:47

20. cezarepc (Posts: 562; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


How can it pull Google ads out if the ads are "within" Android apps?

Facebook home is nothing but an FB-centric-Launcher. It has no power to remove ads. I'm currently using FB Home and as I can see right here I'm playing a video using MX player and the stupid banner is here (unless I go offline).

Facebook might be bigger than Android but not even close to Google.

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 03:45

17. amozhi (Posts: 96; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


I even uninstalled my Facebook app from my phone (S3). Last update requested permission to call even without my notice and also there is a warning that malicious app can also call without my notice. It is such a crap app...
Bye Bye facebook...

posted on 15 Apr 2013, 10:48

21. amats69 (Posts: 1020; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


I dont like the FB Home but im not saying thats its a crap...it just happend that i dont spent more time on FB.so i just simply turned it off and go back to my HTC Sense life..but im surprise because even i turn off the FB HOme the chatheads still working! and not only on my FB messages but also to my Text messages! is this normal? im really loving it loving it because even if im in instagram or other application i can reply to a text message without leaving the application! you guys experience also the same? is this normal?... :) and btw i only running the apk file because it is still not avail in our country.

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