Facebook Home on iOS? No Thanks

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Facebook’s announcement yesterday at their headquarters in Menlo Park, California, didn’t get me stoked up one bit. I didn’t even realise it had started until I checked my Twitter during a break from revision in my university’s library and discovered that the event had temporarily hijacked my feed. So, to procrastinate a bit, I started watching the live feed and reading a bit more about it on various technology blogs. The results, unfortunately, didn’t impress.

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Facebook Home is essentially a launcher for your Android phone. Smart: yes. Practical: well, debatable.

First of all, I was totally confused as to what was being announced. Was it a phone? Was it a new mobile app? Only later did I find out that Facebook Home was an interface that is cemented on top of the default operating system (in this case, Android) on your phone allowing you to interact a bit more with the world’s most popular social network. Oh, and there’s a phone, the HTC First, with the interface built in. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, in all honesty.

Reactions, Reactions

Yesterday, I asked on our various social networks what our readers, followers and fans (on Facebook, ironically enough) thought – and the reactions were generally negative. Mark Myerson, one of our writers, said on Twitter:

I’ve had nightmares that look like Facebook Home 😉

And Mark O’Meara, one of our fans of Facebook, stated:

I cannot see it lasting very long. A very lame attempt at trying to boost revenue.

Other reactions were on similar lines, stating that Home will never take off on iOS and people will react negatively when they are “forced” to use it.

Home on iOS? Dream On

Soon after the official announcement, reports started coming on various tech sites that Facebook Home won’t find a home on iOS thanks to Apple’s strict rules on third-party app. Call me a grumpy old sod, but that’s something I’m thrilled about.

FacebookChat

Facebook Home on iOS requires jumping over many hurdles, including a tighter co-operation with Apple.

To me, Facebook is more of an unnecessary burden than a useful tool. Although the developers have tried to make the web version as intuitive as possible, I still find it clunky and annoying to use. The mobile versions aren’t much better either – despite the fact the iOS version got a much-needed update last year (the engineers completely reworked the app’s platform), it is still slow and sometimes an absolute pain to use. Why Facebook doesn’t take a leaf out of Google’s book when it comes to iOS app coding (yes, I’m talking about the Google+ app) is beyond me, to be honest.

Those Little Annoyances

What annoys me profusely about the iOS app is the intrusive notifications. If I, for example, like or comment on a friend’s status, then I’ll get notified when someone else comments on it, regardless or not where they are a friend. I’ve lost count of the number of times my Notification Centre or lock screen has been jammed up with useless notifications. And now I’m been given the option for Facebook to take over my entire phone? No thanks, Mark (that’s Zuckerberg, by the way!).

Facebook Home seems to be a pathetic attempt to try and strengthen the social network’s mobile presence but, in my eyes, they are going about it completely the wrong way. Surrendering your phone’s entire launcher to one social network isn’t the way to go about it — redesigning your entire social network is, though.

A New Approach

Facebook really does need a radical, new approach to its core concept of linking people together and helping users communicate and share with one another so I think rather than wasting precious resources on building an entire launcher that (by the sounds of it, anyway) people don’t exactly want or have given a lukewarm reception to, they could divert these to improving its design and approach. Myspace did it (and they’re haemorrhaging users, anyway) so why can’t Facebook? Who knows.