Facebook Home – A User’s Review

Lesley MattI was extremely excited the day Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement about Facebook Home. At first glance it seemed like a unique experience that would help to transform the way I interacted with people on my phone, and I couldn’t wait to for the release date so that I could start interacting with people in a new, exciting, revolutionary way that Zuckerberg created for me.
After a few minutes of updates and changes to my phone, I was immersed into the world of Facebook Home.

fhomeA few things struck me as odd after I downloaded it. I knew what to expect from watching the videos about Home, but I didn’t expect it to immediately take over my entire phone. I thought that it would be like other widgets on my phone, where I had to log into them to get them to start running. Not with Home. It was automatically showing a slide show of photos from my friends as well as status updates and other things that they had posted. This made me realize that I have some amazing photographer friends and the way the slide show was presented, it made it look even better, but also annoyed me because it was an experience I wasn’t ready for.

Here are my thoughts:

I felt completely lost after downloading it. I couldn’t figure out how to make my phone function as a phone anymore and all the basic functions of making calls, checking email and sending text messages seemed to go away.

Everything was replaced with all things Facebook. I felt I had just mastered the basics of my new Android phone, but I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around getting it to work without updating the entire Facebook universe of what was happening with me. If I was using an app, was that showing up on Facebook?

It’s always running, and kind of feels Big Brother-ish. Even though my phone has amazing battery life, I didn’t like the feeling that “big brother” was always watching me. I knew that downloading the app would change a few of my privacy settings, but it really felt like my entire phone activity could be watched by Facebook.

I also didn’t care for the fact that there wasn’t any real warning that this was going to happen. The update felt like business as usual, but my entire phone was transformed. This really struck a chord with me as I tend to do almost all of my bill and online banking from my mobile device. With Facebook’s past issues on privacy settings and information spreading I was nervous about having all of my personal banking and shopping preferences being used to “help” me make buying decisions. I am all for targeted advertising and recommendations based on first party cookies, but the potential for Facebook to take what I consider extremely personal information and use it to sell ads turned me off (note that to my knowledge there isn’t an immediate plan for this, but the possibilities of it turned me off).

After a few hours of having this ‘revolutionary’ new app on my phone, I decided that I didn’t care enough about what people were doing on Facebook to risk public embarrassment for being naïve and completely delete the application from my phone. Since it is a free app, I feel as if there wasn’t any love lost and I can always change my mind.

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