Though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) isn’t putting a tremendous amount on the line with its new Home app, the early returns are bordering on horrendous. Home is available on a limited number of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones, making its overall impact unclear, yet an overwhelming majority of Google Play’s user critiques were damning.
The idea behind Facebook Home is simple. Instead of looking at the typical home page of your Android device, you are looking at a Facebook screen, through which are channeled all elements of the Internet. (If you think it sounds like something Google might try, you’d be right.)
The execution is not working out in the simplest terms, however. Many complaints are centered on the way Home is forcing users to make laps around their phone to get back to the home screen. Other users are commenting about the need for more widgets. Finally — and most curiously — some users are angry that Facebook is taking over its phone’s home screen (the clear intention of Facebook Home). Though some have suggested that Home’s limited availability might have sparked negative reviews from jilted non-users, Google’s people noted that only bona fide users could post reviews.
The launch on Google Play coincided with the release of the HTC First, which has Home pre-installed and runs on AT&T (NYSE:T) networks. Reviews for that Android phone have been generally favorable, but it clearly takes an all-Facebook, all-the-time sentiment to get the full impact. For users in overseas markets who instantly associate the Internet with Facebook (and those who believe the two are one and the same), the appeal is clearer.
Google is reportedly at work on a version of this phone, which would use Google+ as its skin. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did mention that other social media would likely be included eventually in the Home interface, but none are working on Facebook Home as of yet. Speculation about phones sporting the skin of one specific social media network — to the exclusion of others — has been rampant, yet Facebook Home is the only system to debut as of this writing. Considering the heat it’s taking, Google et al might want to hustle the release of their own versions.
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