Facebook Home for Android is an interesting, and odd, experiment from the big dog in social networking. On the one hand, the home-screen replacement software introduces some daring, even likable, ideas about how to interact with your friends on your phone — and soon, on your tablet. On the other hand, Home is very much first-generation software that could use more time in the oven to become truly useful for Facebook fanatics.
Interface and navigation
When you wake your phone, you see Cover Feed, a seemingly endless stream of friends’ photos and updates from your news feed. Chat messages, icons, notifications, and other text overlays this full-screen photo backdrop. The photos auto-scroll, or you can flick to advance. To get a closer look at a friend’s photo, press and hold the image.
Facebook distinguishes two kinds of images that get pulled into Cover Feed. There are friends’ recently added pictures, which appear in full, living color, and there are the darkened cover photos, over which status updates float.
Apps live in a launcher
Seeing images instead of your typical grid of apps and widgets is the toughest part of getting used to Facebook Home, but apps are still close by. You swipe up from the bottom of the screen to conjure the launcher, which is populated with app shortcuts and overlays the screen.
You can then add and delete shortcuts to your heart’s delight, editing the full page of them already started for you, including essentials like the phone dialer, settings, maps, the browser, and the Google Play store.
Chat Heads, a new kind of messaging
Facebook Home’s most useful, novel, and elegant interface reenvisioning by far also bears the silliest name.
Chat Heads are circular icons of your friends’ profile pictures that pop onto the screen when someone texts or sends a Facebook message. They float on the top layer, above the Cover Feed image, your browser, e-mail app, or game.
Options and settings
In the settings, you can keep security intact by reviving the lock screen or turning off Facebook Home completely (press Menu button, then Facebook Home settings.)
You can also show or hide the Android status bar, and adjust image quality/refresh frequency. In addition, there are shortcuts that open up Facebook Messenger settings and the general Facebook settings.
Notifications from Facebook appear right on your home screen and stick around until you need them. Open a notification with a tap or clear them away to see your cover feed.
Launch your favorite apps and post to Facebook from the same spot. You choose what’s on your app launcher—press and hold an app then drag it where you want it.
Note : Facebook Home will work on the HTC One, One X, and One X+, and the Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, andGalaxy Note 2. You can be sure it’ll be available for more smartphones and tablets in the future. You must have installed the latest Messenger and Facebook apps for the full Home experience
What’s in this version:
• Glance at your phone for the latest photos and posts from your friends
• With chat heads and Facebook Messenger, you can keep chatting when you’re using other apps
• See news as it happens with bigger, bolder notifications
• Get right to Facebook, Instagram and other essentials
THIS APPLICATION REQUIRES NO SPECIAL PERMISSIONS TO RUN.