Facebook has just announced a new application it calls “Facebook Home.”
Mark Zuckerberg announced the product on April 4th at an event, and said their new product will improve the mobile experience for mobile users.
How Does “Facebook Home” Work?
Android users will see a few unique changes to their phone’s home and lock screen. Essentially the home screen and lock screen will be turned into a Facebook text-based experience. Facebook calls this new experience the “Cover Feed.” Content will load to your phone’s screen while it is in sleep mode. From the sleep mode users can easily flip/slide through the content once they have awakened their phone.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that "Home" is a means of making Facebook more engrossing and also referred to the size of the opportunity in terms of the captive audience available. He referenced a statistic that the average mobile consumer looks at their lock screen 100 times per day.
When is Facebook Home Available?
If you currently own an Android mobile phone you can expect to have access to this new app on April 12, via the Google Play store.
Features of Facebook Home
Notification and pop-ups - Facebook Home will show notifications that pop-up on the screen and can be removed with a swipe on the phone.
Messaging - Both Facebook messages and standard SMS. When you receive a new message a friends “chat head” shows on the screen. Chat heads are just a fancy Facebook name for a picture of your friend in the shape of a circle. If you choose to continue the conversation with your friend you simply click on their Chat Head and continue.
Should Google Be Worried?
Google Search Gets Pushed Aside. With the new Facebook Home there is one subtle change that could have big affects on Google Search. On current Android devices, the Google search bar takes priority on home screens. However, with the new Facebook Home these search bars will be pushed back 2-3 clicks, which makes searching less convenient.
When asked about the missing Google search bars, Zuckerberg said it was not intentional and that they don’t want users to have to choose between Google and Facebook. Danny Sullivan founding editor for Search Engine Land stated, “Is this on purpose? Like I said, I doubt it. It’s certainly not the impression I got when talking briefly to Zuckerberg about it. He made it pretty clear there was no intention of trying to change search around for people.”
These are only a couple of the features announced by Zuckerberg; more features will be rolled out monthly by Facebook.
How Will Facebook Home Affect Ads?
At this time Mark Zuckerberg stated that ads would not be included in the cover feed at the launch in April. However, Zuckerberg did say, “Ads will eventually be incorporated into Home, but not at first."
Could this be Facebook’s attempt at solving their current challenge of showing mobile ads without annoying mobile users? Once Facebook gains users for Facebook Home, will they launch a new style of Ad for mobile users?
Mobile Internet Advertising has been growing rapidly since 2012, thanks in part to Facebook and Twitter. Research firm eMarketer expects U.S. mobile ad spending to grow 77 percent this year to $7.29 Billion, from $4.11 billion last year. If Facebook has adopters for their new mobile software they will have prime real estate available for ads. Especially with home screen and lock screen being dominated by Facebook content.
The big question internet marketers are asking now is, how will this affect internet marketing and online ads? At this time there is really no way of knowing, however one thing is very clear. These changes will position Facebook with a deeper consumer connection and is expected to improve mobile engagement.
“Facebook will become elemental to the Android customer’s experience,” said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.