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Is Facebook Home the Beginning or the End?

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badge baer facts Is Facebook Home the Beginning or the End?
In this edition of The Baer Facts, I talk with Kyle Lacy of ExactTarget about the newly launched “Facebook Phone,” released to little acclaim last week. As it turns out, the phone isn’t a phone at all (Facebook wisely is staying out of the hardware wars for now), but rather a collection of integrated apps called Facebook Home that puts the entirety of your Android-powered mobile device through the prism of a photo-centric Facebook experience.

I haven’t used it personally, but from afar it seems a little bit like the Windows Mobile interface that uses live tiles and lots of photos to make the phone experience more vivid and alive. Windows Mobile has been a commercial dud, but my wife has a Nokia Windows Mobile phone and adores it.

How Much Facebook is Too Much Facebook?

Mobile users of Facebook already spend more than 30 minutes per day on it, via mobile browser or Facebook’s app. Do we really need a more immersive experience that makes Facebook omnipotent and omnipresent on our phone? Do I really want to turn on my phone and be greeted by yet another photo of the children of a guy I didn’t particularly like in high school, but am nevertheless connected to via Facebook?

Does my mobile phone experience have to be made photo and sharing-centric? Is the whole damn world going to end up looking like Pinterest?

Facebook Home Could Be the Layer of the Future

I’ve got enough Facebook in my life, so I won’t be adopting Facebook Home any time soon (plus, I don’t have an Android device). However, the mobile middleware that Facebook Home represents is an interesting concept, at least to me. To you as well?

It’s not an app. It’s not an operating system. It’s in-between, like a fat app that’s integrated everywhere on the device. It’s like the “skins” that have been developed for browsers (and even for mobile OS) but done better, and more comprehensively.

If, instead of Facebook Home, I could choose a different flavor of Home, one that was based on my interest graph rather than my social graph, I’d be a buyer.

Could I get a phone that is centered around sports? Could I get a phone that is centered around marketing? Could I get a phone that is centered about tequila/wine/beer/food? THESE are ideas that get me more excited than viewing even more of my life through Facebook’s prism.

However, as a Facebook shareholder, I hope it works and they sell a ton of new ads via Facebook Home. Will they?

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  • http://stevenahill.com/ Steve Hill

    I love the concept of middleware. Great way to describe it Jay!

  • http://twitter.com/dave_link Dave Link

    I already have Facebook on my phone, it’s in the app. I don’t need to have my timeline feed available instantly every time I look at my phone. In fact, I don’t WANT that type of functionality. It’s much like the always-on gaming trend that is creeping its way into the online world. I want to be able to choose when I’m immersed into an online social world and when I want to take a step back and just make a phone call or send a text.

    Now, as you hinted at, if there was some sort of all-in-one app that would just pull all of my interests into one app or middleware platform that might hold some promise, but I’m still iffy on the whole idea of social platform-centric devices.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

      I think we’re on the same page, Dave. It might have promise, but it’s not there yet.

  • http://twitter.com/mftracy Michael Tracy

    Great and simple point. Leverage interest vrs social graph to possibly improve UX on mobile devices. Great insight Jay!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

      Thanks very much Michael. Glad you agree!

  • Graciousstore

    Those who will download the face-book apps are those who are 24/7 on face-book

  • markmayhew

    It’s called a launcher (are u sure that you’re a social media consultant)?

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

      Yes. Which is different from mobile software consultant.

  • http://chuckreynolds.us/ Chuck Reynolds

    well since nobody likes it… i’m leaning towards… neither. They have too much social equity still… they’re not going anywhere soon. Think of all the things Google and Yahoo have flopped. just a bump.