The good news: Facebook Home can now be run on all Android devices running version 4.0 of the mobile operating system or higher, even if they are not on the social network’s list of officially supported devices. The bad news: In order to run Home on non-supported devices, users must first uninstall (and later reinstall) the flagship Facebook application and Facebook Messenger, and then side-load Home.
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.
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.
Stickers are spreading through Facebook’s applications. Facebook updated its Messenger for iOS app Monday, adding stickers and the ability to swipe to delete conversations. Stickers were previously available on the main Facebook for iOS app, but now they’ve been added to the stand-alone Messenger app.
Facebook updated its Facebook Brand Resources page with more specific guidelines about how to use its logos and screenshots in print, film, broadcast, and online, and how to treat the social network’s brand.
Facebook’s war against the calling feature of mobile phones continues. TechCrunch reported Thursday that the Android Messenger application is getting an update with the ability to call friends using voice over Internet protocol. This will roll out gradually to U.S. users, so Facebook Messenger on Android users may not have it immediately. People with Facebook Home can also use VoIP to call friends, without eating into their minutes.
The Chat Heads feature of Facebook’s Home overlay for Android was added to the Facebook Messenger application for that platform, and the social network also added permissions for Home to its flagship Android app.
Move over, Facebook Messenger: You’ve got company on the Firefox Social API. Mozilla announced the addition of several social partners to its application-programming interface, which launched last November, solely with Messenger.
It’s not exactly a Facebook phone. It’s not exactly a Facebook application. It’s Home, and it will be on select Android devices starting April 12. The company announced Thursday that the HTC First, as previously rumored, will be the flagship for deep Facebook integration, and other phones will have these capabilities soon. From these devices, Facebook will make a highly visual Cover Feed the focus, bringing users closer to photos, status updates, check-ins — and, someday, ads.
Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has constantly laughed off the thought of a Facebook phone, but it appears that the company will announce Thursday the closest thing to such a product. Sources have leaked information to tech news sites, saying that a future Android phone will have a Facebook home screen and built-in Facebook integration. But would you buy it?