Diversifying Facebook Home could broaden its appeal, analysts say

Integrating more outside social apps into the service could extend its reach beyond core Facebook users

Facebook's Home mobile software for Android-equipped smartphones might only appeal to the most active Facebook users at first, but the company's plan to integrate third-party social services into it could broaden its appeal.

Home, which was unveiled Thursday, is a software service initially available for Android devices and designed to give people faster access to their Facebook content and messaging with friends. One of its chief features is Cover Feed, which replaces the smartphone's home and lock screen to give users a constantly updated visual display of the activity and status updates of their friends and the groups they follow on Facebook.

Currently, all of Cover Feed's content is Facebook-generated, but other services, such as Tumblr or Instagram feeds, could be integrated into Home's Cover Feed eventually, Facebook said during the Home launch event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

"Over time, we hope to get more content in there," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. "That's a huge opportunity."

It's also a good idea if Facebook truly wants its new product to appeal to more than its most active users, analysts say.

"Treating Home as a platform where people can access other social feeds, as opposed to a proprietary app, will broaden its appeal," said Greg Sterling, senior analyst with Opus Research.

Cover Feed functions similarly to Facebook's News Feed, although instead of scrolling through updates, people swipe through them, as each update or post fills the screen. These updates, which are presented in a rich visual display, are meant to more deeply connect users with their friends.

Home's Cover Feed will probably be pretty boring for people who are not very active on Facebook, Gartner analyst Brian Blau said. For the product to gain mass appeal, a greater variety of social activity outside of Facebook will have to be integrated into it, Blau said.

Users like being able to customize their social feeds, Blau said. Facebook served this demand recently in News Feed with a redesign that added the ability to browse the feed by subject. These types of enhancements would serve Home well, and adding third-party feeds is one such change that users may see, Blau said.

But if Home weaves in more content in future versions, there is also the concern it could become too cluttered. "They need to strike the right balance between functionality and simplicity," Opus' Sterling said.

Facebook Home will be made available in Google's Play Store starting April 12.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesTumblrMobile OSessocial networkingmobilesocial mediainternetFacebookmobile applicationsAndroid OSInstagram

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?