Facebook Home: Android takeover and Google punch to the head

Facebook Home: Android takeover and Google punch to the head

Summary: Facebook can hit the monetization, juice the experience, target tablets and basically circle all of Google's touch points.From a business perspective, Facebook Home is a work of art.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined Facebook Home, an Android overlay that aims to create a software package that takes over messaging, key communications and runs like "system software not an app you run."


Zuckerberg noted that Facebook Home is the "highest quality experience you can have on Android." Facebook has retooled Android's chat with "chat heads," cover overlays and other key perks. Bottom line: If you live in Facebook, Facebook Home is gold for you. If you live beyond Facebook, Facebook Home may strike you as alarming. Facebook literally becomes your phone. For good measure, Facebook forged Facebook Home partnerships with AT&T and HTC to have its overlay work right out of the box. 

Gallery: Facebook builds a new 'Home' on Android

More: Facebook unveils its new 'Home' on Android | CNET live blog: Facebook's new home on Android | Forget the 'Facebook phone', Facebook's mobile ambitions are way bigger than that | Facebook Live 

The larger question is whether the masses will turn their phones into a people experience, which oddly resembles Microsoft's Windows Phone live tiles in some respects.

But let's not lose focus on the bigger business story here. Facebook is trying to eclipse Google on its own mobile operating system. Sound familiar? It should. Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch did something similar and touted its "S" apps over Android. And oh by the way Amazon's Kindle took Android and reskinned it completely.

However, Facebook is most dangerous to Android and Google. Facebook can literally take over your phone. Facebook will also take over the mobile ads that go with your phone. Here's where Facebook Home is truly brilliant. Facebook can hit the monetization, juice the experience, target tablets and basically circle all of Google's touch points. Facebook Home is basically an operating system of sorts with monthly updates.

Facebook said it isn't going to "massively fork Android" and it will respect the open nature of it. Rest assured that Google can't be happy. Samsung isn't happy.

From a business perspective, Facebook Home is a work of art. Every Android phone can become a Facebook phone now. Facebook has grabbed mobile share, possibly ad share and knocked Google in one swoop.

Topics: Bring Your Own Device, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets, Social Enterprise

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  • This only will work...

    ...if you give a crap about Farcebook...which more and more people DON'T.
    • This is GREAT for facebook and htc. I expect to see other phone oems

      following after. Now HTC only has to pay MS for android and they dont have to pay google for services. I bet we'll also see fb open up their adroid app market just like amazon did.
      Johnny Vegas
  • Incorrect on several points

    Kindle was not a 'reskin' of android. Kindle was the 'massive fork' that facebook said they weren't going to do. Kindle is what actually "takes over" in a big way, i.e. android OS source itself is customized. I don't see the world collapsing for google since the kindle.
    Of what I've seen, this is an android launcher, of which there are dozens, more like the 'reskin' you are talking about.

    They do take over your home screen and app drawer. But that's it - its an application level operation, by design. Along with that some custom services that again replace the default android services. Another completely android supported action.

    This is why the Home app can be installed right from the play store as any app. Not a custom ROM as the kindle would be. Home and android launcher can be toggled as easily as running any app.

    Things will be just fine with google, don't worry. There is really nothing for them to be unhappy about. I would be proud if I worked for google. This is the competition and openness we need and exactly what google intended.
    • Facebook will also take over the mobile ads that go with your phone.

      If that statement holds true, then Google *will* be unhappy. Remember, Google's customers are the advertisers, and your information is the currency in which they are paid.
      • I didn't hear the whole product announcement, but it can't do anything that stock android wasn't designed to allow apps to do. So google won't be *happy* in the same way they won't be happy if you don't use the gmail app, for example. Nothing unusual here.
      • Uhhh....ya...

        Let us not forget...

        If something cost nothing, like for the most part the Android OS, than YOU are the product.

        Specifically, it means you become the product that is being sold by way of the free thing you have gotten.

        If Facebook takes over the ad department on an Android OS phone, YOU may still be the product but who is now making the money off of you if Facebook is in control and not Google?

        Google cannot be happy.
        • Partly correct but......

          Google controls the source code. If Facebook wants control they have to write a full OS. Even Kindle use Google code to do things which will always gives Google a level of control. Look at the past history of the 2 companies and advertising profits. Both had large user groups but only one of them made a huge amount of money from advertising dollars. Facebook is learning, but I think software (bloatware) like Sense UI is not going to be the big ticket.
  • The elephant in the room...

    The real problem here is Apple. While Google has additional competition, it is at least about the Android ecosystem. NOT iOS!
    • FB might be great fun for 13 yo girls

      but mature adults likely won't give a damn.

      This will just be another reaons for people to abandon Android and go elsewhere.
      • You might also want to note

        that the last time a company built a phone specifically for 13yo girls and social networking, it was a massive failure. The company was MS and the phone was the Kin.
        • While Kin was an interesting concept, I think it's main problem was

          that it was too social.

          The problem is that Facebook has always been a primary app on smartphones for many, secondary for most others, but was never the reason for the existence of smartphones.

          This is pretty much the same thing - it will only appeal to those that value Facebook over everything else a smartphone can do without Facebook's intrutions.
          William Farrel
          • I'm not so sure . . .

            Home is already integrated into at least one new phone and will soon be integrated into other new phones as those are released, albeit that it will also be a downloadable app for some current Android phones.

            For those new phones that come with it pre-installed, will it be able to be deleted?

            Is there a move by FB to try to make the app a core, undeletable element of Android - not through Google but through OEMs? That won't happen today, but it might in the not too distant future . . .
      • Did you abandon Windows

        ..when Facebook became available there?

        Bit of faulty logic, I think.
      • FB and teenagers

        I agree with Restricted_access comment. No real business person would be
        caught dead goofing off on a Facebook phone in the board room.

        So google loses ad revenue to teeny-boppers!

        BIG WOOP!

        And conversely FB is not likely to make a killing on their Teeny-Bopper Phone Home page.

        But Wall Street might just spin this one in its favor to make some extra sheckle until
        the next P&L's come out and show the BIG WOOP FB FLOP!

        Then the best thing to do is short FB stock the day before they report their next

        The games FB will play.

        Oh I forgot Zuck is still a Teeny-Bopper too.
  • Hmm.

    So now Facebook will now know even MORE about you....
  • Facebook? What's that?

    Seriously, tried it a few times and didn't find anything really interesting.
    • Interesting, but Facebook is going nowhere but bigger..far beyond "teens"

      I am still not using facebook, but as time passes, I am finding that even the most private guys who used to be totally against something like this are getting sucked into it by their families. It is growing to the point where most everyone in most every household is using facebook.
      This may be antecdotal but when you see facebook attached to most every commercial venture gonig to today, you know it's a behemoth. More and more forums and other sites are using facebook accounts as your means to access their content. More and more radio stations nad television stations and websites are telling you visit their facebook pages. If you listen to podcasts every plug includes their facebook page.
      Yes, it's far beyond "teenage girls" as one OP insinuated. I don't use it, but why pretend it's not as pervasive as it really is? Does it scare some people?
      • So you are a sheep…(?)

        You just join something just because a lot of people around you do so? Can you not think for yourself?

        If you have a good reason, just join…but if you think it is silly do not, simple.

        You friends can always give you a call on your phone or send you an e-mail if they want to contact you, if you do not join and they will not be psing on your “wall” all day either, which is a good thing :P
        • Read much? I said, 2 times, I do not use it.

          Just commenting on how huge it's become.
          My wife and son and parents and everyone in the family and all of their mutual friends all use it. I've never seen or heard of anyone psing on anyone's wall? What kind of friends do you have?
          • Evil friends...

            I didn't say you are using it I said, do not fall because of peer pressure…

            You also need to read around more and learn stuff.