Facebook has recently shared that on Facebook Home, engagement with the social network has increased 25 percent compared to the standard Facebook mobile application. In this case, engagement refers to the expected: commenting, liking and sharing, but also refers to additional time spent in the app such as messaging.
Contrary to an erroneous report in The Guardian last week, Facebook isn’t losing users in the U.S. They’re just changing up their habits. According to figures provided to AllFacebook by Nielsen, Facebook users are shifting more of their social network time to their mobile devices and away from desktop. In March 2013, U.S. visitors to Facebook’s mobile application (Android & iOS) spent an average of 6 hours, 49 minutes on the site, compared to 6 hours, 44 minutes on average on desktop.
A few weeks ago, Facebook updated the layout for pages on iOS and mobile web, bringing information such as a map and a call button to the top. Friday, Facebook will start rolling out this update for Android.
When Facebook introduced Home, as well as the flagship HTC First device, it felt weird to call it a phone. There’s little to no customization, as there is with most smart phones on the market, and it seems like that’s what turned off users. But the planned updates announced Thursday show that Facebook is planning to turn Home-enabled phones back into, well, phones. However, Facebook Home could just be a guinea pig for the company to develop something better in the future.
On the Google Play store, Facebook Home users have made their voices heard. As of Thursday, there are more than 8,300 one-star reviews of the application, compared with 2,700-plus five-star reviews, with Facebook Home earning an average rating of 2.2. During a media session Thursday with selected reporters, Facebook talked about how the company has taken these reviews into consideration and will give users better access to apps over the next couple of months.
Many users have been unhappy with Facebook Home, the company’s mobile platform on Android. Facebook will release a small update Thursday to Home, but it will mainly be bug fixes and minor improvements. Two lead engineers told a select group of reporters Thursday that the first update to Home will be released Thursday afternoon, with greater updates available within the next two months.
Facebook announced last month that it was experimenting with the use of Google’s WebP image format due to its smaller file sizes for photos, and now the social network is trying to get Firefox parent Mozilla on board.
The revolving door of engineers leaving Facebook continues to spin, as Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson announced that the social network’s head of product for Android, Bubba Murarka, was named a general partner and managing director.
Facebook users tapping the social network to get, well, really social will likely be heartened by news that Bang with Friends released applications for the iOS and Android platforms, while a more subtle Facebook app, YouShouldTotallyMeet, is aimed at bringing the matchmaking process to users’ networks of friends.
The HTC First, announced as the flagship Android device for Facebook Home, now costs less than a fast-food cheeseburger (well, before taxes and fees). AT&T has discounted the price of the HTC First from $99.99 to $0.99, with a two-year agreement.