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Report: Facebook looking to bring Home to new platforms

Social network in talks with Apple and Microsoft to expand the reach of the new launcher

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 16, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2ec6

(Updated to reflect comment from Microsoft)

Home may have only officially debuted on Android this three days ago, but it looks like Facebook is wasting no time in bringing it to other platforms as well.

The social network is in talks with both Apple and Microsoft to bring the user interface to their mobile platforms, Adam Mosseri, director of product at Facebook told Bloomberg Monday, though he noted that the talks between Facebook and the two companies are ongoing and that nothing has been finalized.

"We've shown them what we've built and we're just in an ongoing conversation," Mosseri said.

There could be a hinderance to bringing it to other platforms, though, especially on iOS: it is a closed platform, as opposed to Android's open platform.

In fact, Android's open platform is the very reason Facebook chose it in the first place.

“Apple is a very controlled ecosystem,”  Zuckerberg told a reporter after debuting Home last week. “Fundamentally, Android is just a more open ecosystem.”

Mosseri acknowledged this to Bloomberg, saying that if, and when, Home does arrive on iOS, it may not look, or even carry the same name, as the interface for Android. 

“It may or may not be Home,” he said. “We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it’s not called Home, it’s called something else.”

Given that extra amount of control, putting Home on iOS would probably not cause people to wonder if it would be a threat to the entire operating system, as some believe it is for Android.

About Home

Facebook introduced Home earlier this month at a press event as a user interface that is meant to alter the way people use their phones: by changing them to be centered around people, instead of apps.

"What would it look like if, instead of our phones being designed around apps first, and then just being able to have some interactions with people inside those apps, if we flipped that around and made it so that our phones were designed around people first, and then you could also interact with apps when you wanted to?" Zuckerberg asked while introducing it.

Home has three features that make the phone centered around people:

  • Coverfeed: with Home, when you turn on your phone, it almost looks like your Facebook newsfeed. Instead of a static background with the picture of your puppy or your girlfriend, instead users will see a scroll of stories from Facebook, whether it be new pictures or statuses they have put up. You can both comment and like right from the homescreen.
  • Notifications: if you get a notification on Facebook, it will pop up on the screen with that person's face and name, instead of an app icon and name.
  • Chat Heads: If someone messages you, a small bubble with their face will pop up. Instead of having to decide then and there whether you want to read the message, the bubble will stay on the screen no matter what else you open, allowing you to continue doing what you were doing and to not forget to answer the message.

Facebook Home arrived on Google Play this past Friday and is currently only available in the US and on select devices. Despite the hype, the app is so far not a hit with the public. It has an average rating of 2.3 stars, and 2,012 one star reviews out of 4,221 total. That is nearly 50% of people giving Home the worst possible rating.

Facebook and Apple could not be reached for comment.

Update:

A Microsoft spokesperson pointed VatorNews to comments made by Terry Myerson, head of Windows Mobile at Microsoft, at the All Things D: Dive Into Mobile Conference in New York Tuesday.

"So much of what they've done in terms of an interactive locksreen on the device, I think that's a great platform feature for us to offer. I think what they've do with  ChatHeads, and in terms of making the notifications more personal, I think that's a great platform feature," he said.

"We're going to want to work with them, but our goal was to provide a platform such as our partners can achieve their differentiation."

You can see a video of the complete remarks in the video below:

(Image source: http://www.wired.com)


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