The primary goal of Home, Facebook’s Android app that basically takes over your phone, was to keep people more connected on their mobile devices than they already are. They already had the most popular app, but it wasn’t enough. They wanted total domination. Now, they’re taking a step backwards from that initial goal to solve an issue.
For all intents and purposes, Facebook Home has been a failure. The strategy of rolling it out slowly to only a handful of phones backfired when very few of the owners of those phones took note of the app. Besides the abysmal launch strategy, the biggest problem that users have had is that the overbearing jealousy of the app made it more challenging to do anything at all with the phone other than use Facebook. Getting to other apps required an additional step. On mobile devices, every additional step is a step in the wrong direction for whatever was causing the delay.
Now, they’re making it easier with the recent upgrade to get to commonly used apps through a dock that they’ve installed. It makes getting to other apps less tedious. It’s enough to take away the cumbersome nature of the app, but is it too late? Not according to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“I think it will be a long road,” Sandberg said. “[The smartphone is] an incredibly powerful device and social device. We believe that the phone will get reorganized around people — Home is the first iteration of that.”
The flaw with this thinking is that their failure is not the failure of the smartphone industry itself. Smartphones won’t get reorganized around people. It’s the people that are getting reorganized around their smartphones. Perhaps this is the flawed mentality that prevented Home from making the splash that they’d hoped.
It’s not doomed, though. They are updating it regularly and it only takes one great idea to make it more of a mainstream app. People love their Facebook even if they don’t like the company itself. That addiction is what Facebook is focused on and what they hope will lead to even more domination of our time.