That "new experience" doesn’t stop at the phone’s screen. What Home seeks to deliver is not only a Facebook environment for our phones, but also a Facebook environment for our lives.
With Home, Facebook has crossed the line between something people check -- that they have control over, and deploy according to their wishes and needs -- to become something that’s always on, checking in with us, fighting for attention, waving people we know in our face. Rather than a tool we use to talk to others, the phone, thanks to Facebook, has become something that communicates to us. And it’s Facebook that gets to do the talking.
Home, which will be available for download on a handful of smartphones next week, is essentially a Facebook-ified version of Google’s Android operating system, modified by Facebook engineers to place the social network at its core. A flow of updates from the News Feed will be the first thing people see when they turn on their phones -- the newly named “cover feed,” a slideshow of friends’ photos and status updates, will take over the phone’s primary screen, though users can swipe past to access other applications. Home also touts “chat heads,” a feature that brings together texting and messaging, replaces names with Facebook photos and lets users message within any application. Ads will be on their way to the cover feed soon, Facebook conceded. And though the social network didn’t say as much, technology observers, such as Om Malik, have pointed out that Home will let Facebook scoop up even more personal information about everything from our locations to our calls.