This past Thursday, April 4, Facebook ended all the speculation about whether they were working on a Facebook smartphone, by instead unveiling their new Facebook Home application which can be installed on any existing Android smartphone. Facebook Home will be available for download from Google Play beginning next week.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined Facebook Home as an Android overlay that aims to create a software package that takes over messaging, key communications and runs like “system software not an app you run.” Commonly used mobile apps like Gmail, GoogleMaps, Twitter, WhatsApp and Evernote will still be available on smartphones with Facebook Home but you will have to work harder to get to them.
Facebook is now potentially the most dangerous threat to Android and Google. Facebook can literally take over your phone. Facebook will also take over the mobile ads that go with your phone – this is where Facebook Home could be a radically game-changing force. “Facebook can hit the monetization, juice the experience, target tablets and basically circle all of Google’s touch points. Facebook Home is basically an operating system of sorts with monthly updates.” (Facebook Home: Android takeover and Google punch to the head, Larry Dignan, ZDNet, April 4).
Facebook Home is a layer built on top of Google’s Android OS, rather being a fork (change) to Android (like Amazon’s Kindle Fire), so it’s therefore compatible with Google’s Android updates. Facebook has accomplished this by taking advantage of Android being an Open System.
One question remains, however, as Facebook Home becomes available for any Android smartphone. That question is “How much personal privacy do you give up when you choose Facebook Home?”