Share This

Obligatory Facebook Home Post [What The Tech?!]

I wasn’t going to make this post because I couldn’t quite put into words how I felt about Facebook Home. I kept trying to come up with analogies that would help relay my true feelings about it and because of this, I kept putting it off. Then, last weekend my dog lost his toe in a tragic ‘pawing at the wicker basket’ accident.

Baby Miles

In case you’ve been living under a rock, on April 12th Facebook released its app/jacket/cover/non OS thing called Facebook Home.

Rumors have been brewing about a Facebook phone since Facebook itself went mobile. Zuckerberg was always quick to let it be known that a phone itself wasn’t in Facebook’s scope for the near future or probably ever. Then, in true Facebook fashion (meaning yet another Facebook press conference surrounded by hype where Zuck appeared to not have noticed the outfit his wife laid out for him that day RIGHT on the bed so he threw on whatever was closest to him on the ground) Facebook Home was announced!

Is it an OS? No. Is it an app? No, not really. Well then, what the frig is it?

Facebook Home, currently available to a few select Android devices, is something I would’ve first begun to describe as a sort of mask. As in… it hides your OS and Facebookifies your phone through features like Chat Heads (trying not to be another blogger with shit to say about THAT name EEEeeee), which is an attempt to integrate texting and Facebook messaging by alerting you just to the side of your Cheezburger viewathon that your mom is texting you to ask what it is that you were taking that worked so well for your Nigerians… oop she meant migraines. Frickin autocorrect.

I thought this feature would be a pretty cool one. You don’t have to exit your current app to open your messaging app and it would flow really nicely into having a conversation with someone.

However, since I’m not the most active Facebook Messaging user in the world, I found the chat list and messaging app to be a total clusterfuck. The biggest turn off for me being that in order to send a message, I’d have to distinguish between if I was sending it to my friend’s cellphone or their Facebook. And, well, since I’m over 25, Facebook Messaging just doesn’t happen to be my standard form of communication.It felt cumbersome and totally in the way of me trying to send a text.

Second ‘big’ feature: Cover Feed. This basically replaces your phone’s lock screen and home screen wallpaper with a continuous flow of photos and news items that you would normally find in your feed upon signing onto Facebook or opening the mobile app.

I knew since before I downloaded Facebook Home that this would be a feature I would opt out of (allegedly it’s disableable) and not even use for so many obvious reasons. I don’t need to see shirtless selfies of my 18 year old cousin when I go to check what time it is (said cousin being a ‘he’ but still…). Facebook Home also disables the ability to secure these things from random people picking up your phone, so there’s that.

I downloaded Facebook Home on April 12. I actually checked multiple times throughout the day to see if it was available for my S3 in the Play Store yet. I was excited about switching things up a bit from my standard Android experience. I enjoy interfaces (interactive experiences are what I do for a living), and it’s fun to see developers stray from the intuitive (or what becomes intuitive based on prior experiences). I was happy to see Facebook take a stab at changing my phone experience altogether and “putting people at the center” of it.

I checked the Play Store for the 6th time that day and there it was. Click. Download. Open.

It felt like my phone had put on a mask. But not quite. I totally KNEW that I was in an app. Everything felt entirely out of place (and not a good ‘I’ll learn because this is better’ out of place like I felt when I put down my iPhone and picked up an Android device, but rather an ‘I know my shit is here somewhere but why the HELL would they put it over there?!’ out of place).

It wasn’t submersive, it didn’t feel like an OS like Zuck may have hoped it would. I saw bits and pieces of my standard Android OS sticking out all over the place but I just couldn’t GET to them. I felt like my phone put on a jacket that it was totally uncomfortable with. Sometimes in design you can put errors into words and other times… like this time… you can just try to find the best analogy for the flaws in design. Mask… jacket… a can of biscuits that slipped out of my shopping bag and sat on the floorboards for over an hour? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Literally within two minutes I had it uninstalled.

Then… last weekend… my dog lost his toe.  When we went to pick him up from surgery I took one look at him and knew I had the perfect analogy for the Facebook Home design.

You see, Facebook Home sits on your phone and shows you what it wants you to see in the way that it wants you to see it. You know the rest of your phone is there, you can feel it… see some of it… long for it… but you just can’t get to it. Sorry Facebook, but your Home is really a cone of shame.

Hang in there everyone, because ads will be integrated before long. Eventually that cone will end up looking like NASCAR got their hands on it.

(I tried spray painting TIDE inside of Miles’ cone to add more photos to this post but it just got runny and awkward…).