“The reviews are in: Facebook Home, Mark Zuckerberg’s grandiose stab at totally controlling our mobile experience, is an unmitigated disaster. On Wednesday, AT&T announced that it was dropping the price of the HTC First smartphone, which comes with Facebook Home built in, from $99 to 99 cents. Think about that: a new smartphone, priced to jump off the shelves at Dollar General. It’s a great deal, but it is also hugely embarrassing for Zuckerberg. […] For confirmation we need only look at the Google Play store, where the Facebook Home app, which can be installed on select Android phones, has now fallen to the No. 338 ranking in the category of free apps. That’s 200 spots lower than it ranked just two weeks ago.” Totally did not see this coming whatsoever.
The Facebook Home disaster
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2013-05-11 6:32 amMorgan
One million downloads sounds like a lot, but you have to remember that there are roughly 1.1 billion Facebook subscribers. And does that one million figure include the phones sold with it pre-installed? And how many of those one million turned right around and deleted the app five minutes after installing it? Based on the Play Store reviews, probably a good many.
I love the concept, don’t get me wrong. And I’d love to see Google do something similar with their social network. I just think Facebook should have worked out the more serious bugs before unleashing it on the masses. Also, I’m not enjoying the buggy “features” trickling in from Home to the iOS app. Facebook could learn a lot from Google in this area; I’ve found the iOS version of Google+ to be even better than the Android version, which is really puzzling.
*Edited to fix the stats on current FB subscribers.
Edited 2013-05-11 06:36 UTC
Lets see how long they let me use an old version. No chat heads! I’m opposed on moral grounds.
2013-05-11 8:20 amHangLoose
I gotta tell you dude, I think it is brilliant.
Specially if you, like me, have lots of people that send you messages through FB instead of SMS.
The little heads get stacked together and is so much easier to “multi-task” from what you are doing, i.e. browsing, to sending a small text and back.
Facebook home I always thought it was a bit meh. Since my friends usually suck at taking pictures that interest me. Flickr home though would be awesome.
2013-05-11 8:50 amnej_simon
You can disable the chat heads though.
But the new client asks for a lot of new permission which is a bit scary.
… it turns out people don’t want to pay, directly, more than a couple of bucks for the “privilege” of being a product.
2013-05-12 12:55 pmLaurence
I wish that were true, but sadly I don’t think that’s the case. This is more a case of consumers showing that a crowded market place does push standards up* and that Facebook Home was below par on user experience so consumers went elsewhere.
* Apple and Microsoft, I’m looking at you and the anti-competitive behaviors you slip into whenever anyone threatens to release a better product than you. You can litigate all you want, but so long as the competition keeps releasing better products then consumers will keep buying them. So sort your shit out and compete with the market instead of trying to prevent them from competing with yourselves. </rant>
Are people still using that thing?
I’m wondering how long it will be til we start seeing these for sale for a super cheap price without a contract?
The specs sound reasonably decent, if we can get the CM team to port for this one it still has hope. If not thank god for 3rd party launchers so people can switch away from FB Home
I havent used it so I cant say it’s bad or not, I just have zero interest in it.
I don’t use Facebook so it makes no difference to me. Sad for HTC though. They’ve to be making decent handsets for the past couple of years but just can’t seem to catch a break.
The couple articles I’ve read on this suggest that Zuck and FB are stupid for thinking that users would let them totally control their phones. I disagree. Based on the fact that a billion people are dumb enough to use FB and give it all their personal info, it makes sense that FB execs would think to take the next step. We got their data, now take over their phones!
2013-05-11 5:35 amSoulbender
Wow, you sure must be smart for not using FB.
2013-05-11 6:50 amMorgan
He’s very smart for not using it. I wish I hadn’t gotten sucked in, now I’m hooked because of distant friends and relatives who all gave up email and texting as primary methods of communication after they got sucked in too. I told my wife I was going to quit Facebook soon after we got married back in March since we share my family contacts, but two months later and I’m still a user.
Switching to Google+ exclusively isn’t a solution either; I only have a few distant friends and one relative there and they never use it. G+ seems to be more geek oriented as I love the maker and OS communities I’m in, but it’s useless for keeping up with loved ones (in my case anyway) and besides, it suffers from many of the same privacy concerns as its older sibling.
So for now, I’ll continue to give up my privacy for a little bit of convenience. I’ll eventually kick the Facebook habit just as I kicked the World of Warcraft habit many years ago.
Oops, gotta go, I just got a FB notification. Time for my hourly fix!
2013-05-11 7:21 amSoulbender
He’s very smart for not using it.
Or maybe he doesn’t have any friends. Who knows?
Either way, not using Facebook does not make you smart or stupid. It’s how you use it that matters.
2013-05-11 7:30 amMorgan
Hey, you were the one to make the smartass “you must be smart” comment, he never said anything to that effect. So basically, you are arguing with yourself. 😛
2013-05-11 7:45 amSoulbender
he never said anything to that effect.
“Based on the fact that a billion people are dumb enough to use FB…”
No, I’m not arguing with myself
2013-05-11 8:05 amMorgan
Okay, I can see why you might be offended, sorry. Still, I feel pretty dumb for continuing to give up my privacy for easier communication. I don’t care how strict one sets their privacy settings on Facebook, the fact remains they still see and record everything you do on the service as well as other websites you visit even after you log off of theirs. That was proven last year and they still haven’t fixed their cookie “oversight”.
And please understand I’m not calling you dumb or stupid; I’ve conversed with you long enough on here to know you are nothing of the sort. But I can beat myself up all day long. 🙂
2013-05-11 8:23 amSoulbender
Still, I feel pretty dumb for continuing to give up my privacy for easier communication.
Well, security and privacy is always a matter of making compromises. Sure, you could be completely private (or secure) but at a severe convenience and usability price.
the fact remains they still see and record everything you do on the service as
Yeah, but every single service provider you use could be doing that. Your email provider can read all your emails (unless they’re encrypted, which is unlikely in most cases), your IM provider can log all your messages etc etc.
well as other websites you visit even after you log off of theirs.
Hmm..I’m pretty sure that tracking only works while you’re logged in to facebook. Can’t really see how it would when you’re logged off. For one, they wouldn’t know your login unless you’re logged in.
2013-05-11 8:29 am
2013-05-11 8:36 am
2013-05-11 8:47 amMorgan
From the article you linked:
“Facebook has changed as much as they can change with the logout issue. They want to retain the ability to track browsers after logout for safety and spam purposes, and they want to be able to log page requests for performance reasons etc. I would still recommend that users clear cookies or use a separate browser, though. I believe Facebook when they describe what these cookies are used for, but that is not a reason to be complacent on privacy issues and to take initiative in remaining safe.”
So they still track us, like I said. Sure, it’s for “safety reasons” but fact is, they do it and it sucks from a privacy standpoint.
2013-05-11 1:58 pmshotsman
Many of the points you make are spot on.
However the big issue I have with FB etc is that they want to control EVERYTHING.
If you use a separate email, IM, ISP etc etc then no one bit of big Biz has a total picture of your life.
That is IMHO a good thing.
As someone who will never ever sign up to FM, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc then I am indeed a smug git in that my details are not high on the list of target for the marketeers. I do have a gmail account. I used it to setup my Android phone. since then? Nah, never used it. If you google/bling for my real name you won’t find me. That is how I want to keep it because having my identity stolen once is more than enough thank you.
2013-05-11 7:00 ampandronic
Well, he actually is – it’s huge time sink, not to mention a privacy disaster.
2013-05-11 7:19 amSoulbender
Not if you know how to use it properly and don’t get addicted. It’s a pretty nice way to keep in touch with people, especially those who live in another part of the world.
2013-05-15 1:48 pmzima
[…] get addicted […]
You have OSNews for that?…
Sorry, I can’t stand sensationalist articles like this. The author clearly has some chip on his shoulder with regards to facebook. In this day and age where everyone in the world is iterating on ideas, this guys craps on version 1.0 and tries to make a case that this one should stop. The author should get his head out of his ass.
Frankly, it’s bad enough that society has degenerated to the point where everyone has his or her nose in a cell phone the majority of their waking hours. Still others admit they waste up to eight hours a day on FaceBook. While I’m generation X, I guess I must be old fashioned because even though I have a phone that’s smarter than I am, I still think of it as a phone. You can often find it in my glove box or on my kitchen counter as that’s why they invented voice mail, right? I also oppose social media for privacy and other reasons and have no on-line presence whatsoever outside of LinkedIn. Do we really think it’s a great idea to transform our phones into an extension of FaceBook? Methinks not and deep down, I think society felt the same. Or, maybe the app was just awful. Either way, it’s probably good that FaceBook Home is about to go the way of Microsoft Bob.
2013-05-12 11:58 pmfrank
Funny how technology is frequently used to describe the degeneration of society. Yet, we feel completely justified when our salaries are high, or completely offended when our salaries are too low.
Even funnier that it’s also the technical people who make that remark, as if we know where technology needs to end.
… or that as technologists we are sometimes the *last* to adopt new products and concepts. It’s no wonder people don’t like engineers and IT. We’re a walking dark cloud of hypocrisy.
“dumb”… that’s how you describe when someone forges ahead with a technique that’s been tried before and failed. It’s when someone ignores the obvious or doesn’t change to account for past experiences. This idea wasn’t dumb – in fact, it was quite rational. It’s just not for me because I don’t use facebook enough.
2013-05-13 10:44 pmcmost
First off, While I am in a technology field, I’m not in IT so I couldn’t care less about IT salaries. Moreover, surely you can’t believe that when the majority of the populace is burying their faces in a computer day in and day out it is “good” for society. FaceBook and Google Glass seem like well placed distractions; panem et circenses if you will, that keep the people from realizing what’s really going on around them.
I agree with you that the data shows Facebook Home has poor ratings as a launcher in the media and on Google Play.
However I completely disagree with the conclusion. Facebook Home is not a failure, its basically a beta which will be evolved over time. Already, Facebook is working to correct many of the complaints left by users who gave it <3 stars. This includes work on creating folders in the launcher, having a dock, and making it easier to use ChatHeads to initiate texting.
Instead of looking at the ratings, look at the number of downloads >1 million in a 3 week period. If anything this shows that Facebook is exactly spot on- people are very interested in having a Facebook/Friend-centric phone experience. The only thing they need to work on is optimizing the implementation.
Saying Facebook Home is an unmitigated disaster would be appropriate if it had <1000 downloads meaning no one cared about having more Facebook in their mobile experience. This data shows exactly the opposite.
Disclaimer: I use Google+ way more than Facebook, and I don’t have a Home compatible phone.
Edited 2013-05-10 23:02 UTC