Facebook Announces New 'Home' for Android

The system creates a more immersive Facebook experience.

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By Rick Mulready

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For people who can't get enough of using Facebook on their smartphones, the social networking giant has made the experience much more immersive for Android users. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the launch of Facebook Home -- a suite of apps for your Android phone that, when downloaded, becomes an interface that brings the Facebook experience to your phone.

The Cover Feed, a continuous stream of pictures and status updates from friends -- and eventually ads -- scrolls across the home and lock screens. By tapping or swiping across the screen, you'll be able to access your phone's apps as well as like and comment on photos and messages.

"It's not a phone or operating system," Facebook says. "It's also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps."

Related: Think Like Zuck: The Secrets to Facebook's Success

One of the other interesting features of Home is what Facebook is calling Chat heads. With Chat heads, when a friend texts or sends you a Facebook message, a small version of their profile picture shows up as a notification on your screen. By tapping on the notification, you can see and respond to the message. If you're in the middle of reading an article when a Chat head pops up, you can move it to a convenient part of the screen with the swipe of your finger.

With an initial focus on user experience, the first version of Home will not include ads, but they're in the pipeline for a future release. Facebook's Product Director Adam Mosseri said they are "designing and working on a lot of really high-quality ad units in [the news] feed already. We will bring those to Cover Feed and make sure they are aligned with the aesthetic and quality bar of everything else in Cover Feed."

Facebook Home will be available in the Google Play Store on April 12th. Android users who already use Facebook's app and Messenger will get a notification suggesting they download it.

Related: Twitter's New 'Cards' Include Features for Business

As with most Facebook product releases, they are rolling Home out slowly. Initially, it will only be available on Samsung's Galaxy S III and S 4, and on HTC's One X, One X+ and new "social" phone, the HTC First. The company expects to launch Home for tablets several months later.

Will you download Facebook Home? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

Rick Mulready

Blogger, Consultant, Speaker and Host

Rick Mulready is a Los Angeles-based social media blogger, consultant and speaker who hosts the Inside Social Media podcast.

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