For many people, Facebook is a social lifeline. It’s where they stay in touch with their friends; it’s where they search for businesses, bands, celebrities, and other things they’re interested in; it’s where they share photos and memories; it’s even where they go for games and other ways to pass the time.
Facebook, of course, is well aware of this – and every update they’ve made to their interface (be it Timeline, their regularly-updated mobile app, or the newly announced Graph Search) has made the platform easier to use and more seamless to integrate with users’ lives.
Now, they’ve unveiled a new mobile app that aims to take things to the next level: Facebook Home.
Basically, Facebook Home completely overrides whatever current platform you use on your phone. Rather than launching and switching to Facebook whenever you get a social notification, Home makes your entire phone about your social circle, just the way it would on your Facebook page. For instance:
- Your phone’s home screen is replaced with a continuous feed of images and status updates from your Facebook friends – letting you “like”, comment on, and share things the minute you turn on your phone.
- You don’t need to open Facebook Messenger to chat with your friends. A new feature called “Chat Heads” allows you to seamlessly receive and respond to messages on-the-fly while you use another application (like searching for directions in Google Maps, editing a photograph in Instagram, or playing Words With Friends).
- Even phone apps will change with Home – you can now launch your applications from within Facebook, rather than leaving their social platform to do so.
For marketers, all these user-specific changes just mean one thing: customers’ lives will revolve more than ever around Facebook networking (and mobile devices).
Will Home catch on? Only time will tell – but my gut feeling is that people are going to love it. I can say from experience that Facebook is already the most-used app on most of my friends’ phones. Initial previews of this new tool have shown it to be sleek, fast, and beautiful (and free). Facebook Home will be released on the Google Play store on April 12th, and will initially be available for a small selection of smartphones. I know that I’ll be downloading it as soon as it hits “shelves.” Will you?