Facebook released a mobile device today. According to Facebook, it’s not a phone, but it’s more than an app. It’s similar to a digital skin that you slide your phone into so that it’s covered in Facebook. Android phones will come with Home pre-installed or you can download it from Google Play.
Basically, it provides a slideshow version of the Facebook News Feed on your phone’s face. Photos, check-ins, and status updates will flip past and you will able to like them by tapping your phone. Chat Heads is a new feature that will come with this technology. When you get a message from a friend, their head will appear on your phone and follow you around from screen to screen until you read the message or swipe the head away.
If people actually like and continue to use Home, Facebook will be able to collect location information from users. This will make the social media platform more attractive to advertisers who want to deliver ads based on who you are, where you are and what you’re doing.
Mark Zuckerberg made mention of ads during the Home presentation. In addition, Home may get people to start using Facebook messaging more often instead of text and email. Aaron Cois tweeted, “Why open another chat app when Facebook chat is always there, with no context switch?”
However, Om Malik at GigaOm didn’t miss the privacy issues. The phones GPS can provide Facebook servers with constant information about your whereabouts. For example, if your phone doesn’t move from one location between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for a week or more, Facebook will know the location of your home. Regardless of whether you list your address on the platform, Facebook will be able to pinpoint your home on a map. Facebook can build a bigger profile of you and correlate all of your relationships, places where you shop, the restaurants where you eat, etc. In addition, the data from accelerometer inside your phone can tell if you’re driving, walking, or running. Zuckerberg said, “Unlike iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform.” Which means Facebook will also have access to the hardware.