What do you see when you turn on your cell phone? If you own a smartphone, you may be greeted with a slew of apps that seem to clutter your screen. If you’re one of those people who constantly check Facebook, then you will have to navigate through this scattered group of apps in order to satisfy your social networking needs.
However, Facebook Home, a new user interface for Android devices, plans to simplify this by including easily accessible Facebook features on the home screen and excluding everything else from one’s view.
From the moment you turn the phone on, your cell phone’s lock screen is filled with what your friends are doing on Facebook. This feature is called the cover feed, and it acts a lot like an instant slideshow for your cell phone. Much like the new Facebook news feed, Facebook Home’s cover feed puts a lot of emphasis on the photos shared on the site. These photos take up the entire screen and users can swipe in any direction to view the next photo.
However, Facebook Home’s cover feed doesn’t just show photos. By swiping through the cover feed, you could also see who’s updating their status, who checked in at what location, and view and share URLs. But it’s not all about just viewing other people’s activity; you can also participate on your own. You can see what people are doing while commenting and liking on anything you want.
The interactivity doesn’t stop there, as Facebook Home lets you integrate Facebook with instant messaging and texting. This works quite well, as all of your Facebook friends and all of your contacts will now be located in one place. Unfortunately, the integration is currently not perfect, as Facebook Home will create duplicates if you already have the same person in your contacts. However, this will be worked out as Facebook Home receives updates in the future.
If you get sent a message by someone, their face pops up on your screen as what Facebook Home calls a chat head. This tiny portrait can be moved wherever you want on your phone’s screen and it will remain there until the user taps on it to enter the messaging function of Facebook Home. No matter where you stack these faces, they never seem too distracting on the user interface.
The unified contact list and messaging system can be accessed through Facebook Home’s menu button, which is a virtual joystick with your face on it. Swiping your face to the left brings you to your messaging list. If you swipe up, the user will be met with a list of Android apps that are hidden by Facebook Home’s interface. By swiping to the right, the user can access the last app that they were using.
In the end, Facebook Home is a great user interface for those who are constantly checking their Facebook to keep in touch with their friends. Not only does it offer immediate access to Facebook’s functions, but it also provides a user interface that makes more sense due to how straightforward and simple it is. Even if you are on the fence about it, Facebook Home remains a completely free way to make your phone feel new again. Because of that, it’s definitely worth a try.
Facebook Home will launch on compatible Android devices on Friday.