Facebook has revealed that its Home launcher for Android devices has been downloaded 1 million times from the Google Play store. Having launched four weeks ago, the social networking company shared that while this supposed number falls in line with its expectations, there are some things that it has received feedback on. For those Facebook Home users, a new update is being released today, as part of its “new every four week” cycle.
Launched to much buzz, Facebook Home is a layer that resides on top of the Android operating system. Last month, company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced several features that came with Home, including chat heads. The idea behind this whole concept was to showcase that Facebook had moved beyond mobile-first and into “mobile-best” — a step it says is where users are connected with their friends and content where things can also be shared and communicated.
By the numbers
At a Facebook whiteboarding session, the company shared some interesting metrics relating to engagement and messaging — two key things related to Home.
With regards to engagement, Facebook is looking at how people are interacting with the social network through News Feed through Home, along with how long people are spending with the launcher. The company said that it has seen a 25 percent increase in engagement since Home was released.
With messaging, it seems the company is fascinated with seeing how users interacted with chat heads. Specifically, it’s tracking two metrics: participation (how many people are using it within Facebook), and volume (how many messages being sent). With this feature, Facebook says that it is seeing a 7 percent increase in participation and 10 percent increase in volume.
It’s important to note that the above metrics are rather subjective since Facebook has not revealed any specific numbers.
What’s more, the 1 million downloads is also something to take with a grain of salt because the company didn’t reveal how many of those are active users. Soon after its launch, the reviews for Facebook Home were rather negative. What’s more, with the HTC First recently being heavily discounted to $0.99 by AT&T, one must wonder how the launcher’s performance and phone’s sale really is. Facebook would not comment about AT&T’s decision.
New features coming in the future
In the next couple of months, Facebook will also be revealing several new features for Home, including a new user experience (codenamed “Blue’s Clues“), a dock, and a dash bar. With “Blue’s Clues”, the idea is to help make Home less confusing and frustrating to use.
One of the feedbacks that Facebook has received from its users is that Home is missing a dock, that ever-present spot on the bottom of the screen that displays the apps that are always there and available. Another point of contention by users is with chat heads — there was no way to initiate a conversation easily. With dash bar, Home will have a feature akin to a buddy list on AIM that can be used for quick referencing.
Only four devices officially supported
During the whiteboarding session, Adam Mosseri, Director of Product, commented on the fact that there is a unofficial Home APK floating out in the marketplace to get the launcher out into unsupported phones. Facebook revealed that there are more than 10,000 users out there using the hacked Home APK.
Currently there are only four devices officially supported, but Mosseri hinted that there are two other devices that are being tested, but won’t be released until months later.
The first update for Facebook’s main app for Android
Today’s update will not be anything major. Facebook says that it will be bug fixes and other minor improvements. It will be an update for the main Facebook app on Android.
Future updates are planned to be released every four weeks, with the exception of July — that month, the schedule falls on the Fourth of July so the company is delaying it by a week.
Celebrate Pride 2020 with us this month!
Why is queer representation so important? What's it like being trans in tech? How do I participate virtually? You can find all our Pride 2020 coverage here.