After days of being just able to read about Facebook's new Home users of the HTC One, One X, and One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2 can finally lay their hands on it. Facebook's latest iteration of the service for Android smartphones, Facebook Home, is up for grabs on the Google Play store.
Cover Feed on Facebook Home lets users view their News Feed posts as soon as they turn their phone on. They can swipe through these posts to view more, double tap to like a post and then can comment on a post from the cover feed.
Up next is Chat Heads and Messenger. Home users can install Messenger on their devices to send and receive texts and Facebook messages at the same location. Then there is the ability to move in and out of conversations while, say, watching a video or browsing the web. It is possible to type replies right from chat heads. Alternatively, users can choose to move them around, in case they don't want to respond to it right away.
Facebook Home settles on the Play store
Home users can view their notifications on their homescreen and they will stay there till the users want it to. To open a notification, users can tap on it or get them out of the way to view the cover feed.
Users have the app launcher to open their favourite apps and post to Facebook at the same time. Users can pick what they want to feature on the launcher, and they can press and hold it before dragging it to where they want to see it.
Facebook Home is dubbed as a replacement for the Android UI and puts more emphasis on people rather than apps. The tablet version of Facebook Home is still under development and will take some time to be launched.
On the question of privacy on Home, Facebook's Michael Richter and Erin Egan had clarified that it “doesn't change anything related to your privacy settings on Facebook.” They added that privacy controls of a user work in the same way with Home as they do elsewhere on Facebook.
While stating that Home is a new way to experience the social networking platform, the post makes it clear that users get to the service by downloading it from the Play store or by purchasing a phone with Home pre-installed. Implying that they do not have to use Home to access Facebook on their Android devices.
Additionally, once a user installs Home on his Android device, he doesn't necessarily have to continue using it. Users can turn off Home in their Home Settings. Alternatively, if a user likes Home but doesn't want to show up as their lockscreen, there is an option for that too.
Importantly, the post goes on to add that Home collects information when users interact with the service, i.e. when they like or comment on a post and send a message. Home may also collect other details about how a user uses it. The post explains this by stating that Facebook has a list of apps that a user has in the Home app launcher.
As for devices that come pre-installed with Home, the service can display notifications from apps on the phone. Facebook explains that since these notifications appear in Home, they collect information about the notifications, like which app is generating them, and not the content of the notification. Facebook confirmed that it removes identifying information from this data after 90 days.
As far as the service's location collecting abilities go, Facebook clarifies that it does not use the location any differently than the Facebook app that users already have on their Android phones. Importantly, it is possible to control the location permission in the phone's settings.
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