Zuckerberg’s freshly announced grab for Android users seems to be another attempt to ruthlessly expose them to more advertisement and more tracking, both of which they don’t want any more of. Launching on April 12th, with HTC First, supposedly the first Facebook phone, the app can be downloaded for free and allowed to rake over one’s home screen and menu system to show updates without having to launch the app. Forget about Android spyware trouble, we’ve got Facebook to worry about now.
Facebook Home App: Just perfect or a little too much?
Being described by some as an ‘erosion of any idea of privacy’, it is very likely that once you install this application, Facebook will rightfully be entitled to track your every move and every little action. It is definitely more of a way for it to embed more deeply in operating system of mobile devices, and to also create a broader platform for itself.
Here There, Everywhere!
Facebook does, however, tuck other apps out of sight, in a drawer to be easily forgotten while it itself replaces the homescreen with a lockscreen that shows only Facebook and Instagram updates. Even if they are available, all other social distractions are conveniently banished from the kingdom with an exception of SMS. This too, however, is dressed up to look like a Facebook service.
The Losing Side
The companies that Facebook is seeking to move against here are free messaging service such as Line, which have been sneaking into the social networking backyard. A part of Facebook’s business plan is to track more the users’ behaviors and an opportunity to serve up advertising and both of these pose the greatest danger to the success of this experiment.
Its not just the messaging rivals who are going to lose to Facebook Home. If Home grabs a serious chunk of public attention, it is going to be harder for other Android app developers to be heard. Coming as a bad news for them, other Android apps will be like second class citizens in Facebook Home phones. Other apps will have to make quiet an effort to be discovered now. Here Twitter springs to mind. There is also a possibility that othertech companies will be forced into a construction boom. They might try to create their own home screen apps for fan-bases.
The problem with that is it’s a big risk challenge to build that is slick and stable enough to tempt users away from existing well-loved homes. It would be the first point of contact on a device people use. This is definitely going to be a disadvantage for the small players. Achieving any kind of serious reach is also going to be tough for all but the biggest, most sticky brands — so it may be more like a construction bust than a boom. Launchers have been a minority hobby for the tech savvy, not a mass market pastime up to now.
Whether Google is a winner or loser here is up for debates. Google Play and Search still live inside Facebook Home. If Facebook ends up extending the reach of Android phones, then Google is still winning even if Facebook wins, too. Home can also inject new life into Android, powering a fresh wave of innovation to keep the platform surfing ahead of the competition.