From time to time a new announcement comes around that gets a ton of attention that is all over the board. Yesterday’s announcement by Facebook of a sort of Facebook phone has created plenty of discussion around the industry.
Let’s take a look at what the pundits had to say:
Gigaom’s Om Malik says plenty in the title of his post “Why Facebook Home bothers me: It destroys any notion of privacy“. He also laments:
This future is going to happen – and it is too late to debate. However, the problem is that Facebook is going to use all this data — not to improve our lives — but to target better marketing and advertising messages at us. Zuckerberg made no bones about the fact that Facebook will be pushing ads on Home.
And most importantly it is Facebook, a company that is known to have played loose-and-easy with consumer privacy and data since its very inception, asking for forgiveness whenever we caught them with its hand in the cookie jar. I don’t think we can be that forgiving or reactive with Facebook on mobile.
Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan takes a look from a search perspective (makes sense right?) and writes in “While “Facebook Home” Keeps Google, Search Is Harder To Reach”
Pick your survey, and one of the top activities on a smartphone is to use Facebook. That’s what the new Facebook Home is all about, making it easier for Facebook users to get Facebook. But it also makes another top activity — search — harder to do.
On Android devices, search is almost always just one touch away. Most current devices have a Google Search bar at the top, while older devices have the old-style search button at the bottom.
Facebook Home turns search into at least a two-touch, or two-step, process. It doesn’t appear to be a purposeful move to somehow oust Google. In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed full of praise for Google and wanting not to impact what people’s search experiences are. Rather, it almost feels like an oversight.
The Verge helps us understand about the delivery of this system
We’re hearing Home will be available beginning April 12th, but only in a limited capacity — it will initially be available on the HTC One and One X, and the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II. It’ll be rolling out broadly, but not at first. It can be installed from the Play Store, and if you have Facebook installed on your phone it will automatically prompt you to download the app. It’s coming to a “wide range of devices,” including tablets, though it won’t come to larger screens for several months. The company promised to redesign every month, bringing new features and new device support.
You know how tech types can be a little myopic and assume the rest of the world (which means about probably 95% of it) thinks like them? Well, Dan Frommer does what far too few do and looks at the wider market for this kind of service. This is where Facebook wants to be.
-What about those millions of people who have bought Android phones — and some iPhones, probably — who don’t really care that they’re Android phones, or even smartphones?
-The types of people who, every couple of years, go into the Verizon or AT&T shop and walk out with whatever newish thing the store rep says they should buy? (All those people who buy Android phones but don’t really show up in usage logs.)
-Or even first-time smartphone buyers?
My guess is that many — most? — of these people are Facebook users, and could easily see some utility in having Facebook features highlighted on their phones. And — bonus — Facebook’s software looks good. Much better than the junk that ships with typical low-end Android devices.
And of course it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t hear from Facebook themselves from their newsroom.
Today we’re introducing Home – a new way to turn your Android phone into a great, living, social phone.
We all want to share and connect. That’s how we discover new information and build meaningful relationships. But today, phones are built around tasks and apps. To see what’s happening with your friends, you pull out your phone and navigate through a series of separate apps.
We asked ourselves if sharing and connecting are what matter most, what would your phone be like if it put your friends first?
Our answer is Home. Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps.
What I find interesting personally may seem minor but the use of circles for certain images in Home looks a lot like Google+. Borrowed? Even this video has a Googley feel to it or is it just my imagination?
I suspect this will do pretty well but will it take over the mobile world? I doubt it. Personally I don’t want to limit my interactions by making Facebook the dominant part of my online experience. That’s me personally though.
Maybe, like Frommer was thinking, people like me aren’t the point of Facebook Home. As marketers we need to go where the people are and where they can be reached. Mark Zuckerberg promised ads on Home. Do we need to say anything more?