Talking tech since 2003

You know that old cliché, “there’s no place like home,” right? Well, it seems that a new update to the Facebook App, that’s about to get a little less true.

According to a post on TechCrunch today, Facebook has modified its app in such a way as to add in a key feature of “Facebook Home,” the social networking site’s custom launcher released a few months ago. Even if you didn’t download the Home launcher for Android devices when it first came out, it seems as though you’ll be getting a taste of Home…even if you’ve never visited.

The post explains which key feature of Home have been added to the app via an update today: Cover Feed. For those unfamiliar with the feature, Cover Feed will swap out the regular Android lockscreen with a Facebook-centric feed, allowing you to check on your friends’ updates and activities without unlocking your phone. For those who live and die by what they see on Facebook, this could certainly be a welcome addition. For the rest of us who only check Facebook out of habit—well, it may be a feature that goes forever untested.

Now, the TechCrunch post takes a pessimistic view of this update, saying that Cover Feed’s inclusion in the regular Facebook app is the company’s subtle way of admitting defeat with Home, which, apparently, has never really gained much in the way of popularity. However, while I have no interest in trying out Home or Cover Feed myself, I see it as more of a way to slowly introduce the features of Home to an otherwise unaware audience.

It’s easy for us bloggers and web-writers to forget: many, many people have no idea what’s going on in the world of the Internet. Even though Facebook Home may be an easily identifiable feature to you and me, the average user of the Facebook app has likely never even heard of it. Why should they? Chances are good that most users of Facebook’s app had it pre-installed on their fancy phones when they first turned it on after bringing it home from the store.

Facebook’s attempt to slowly roll features of Home into the app is a great way to get people used to what the site is likely planning. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the not-so-distant future, Facebook stopped making two separate apps for the social network and Home, and consolidated both into one app that comes pre-installed. Sure, users will likely be able to turn on and off different features, like the launcher, but there’s no reason to think that Facebook wouldn’t simply bundle everything together after people have gotten used to these features one-by-one.

It’s easy to dismiss Facebook’s many changes from where we’re sitting. But at the end of the day, they’re the ones with the captive audience, logging in hour after hour, day after day. Chances are pretty good there’s a plan at work here. I’m keen to find out what it really is.


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