Facebook barges into Google turf with Home - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Facebook barges into Google turf with Home

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK, NY (WFLA) -

Facebook Home, the new application that takes over the front screen of a smartphone, is a bit of a corporate home invasion. Facebook is essentially moving into Google's turf, taking advantage of software the search giant and competitor created.   

Facebook Home will operate on phones running Google Inc.'s Android software and present Facebook status updates, messages and other content on the home screen, rather than making the user fire up Facebook's app. The software will be available for users to download on April 12 and will come preloaded on a new phone from HTC Corp., sold by AT&T Inc. in the U.S.     

Google gives away Android, the most popular smartphone software in the world, in the hope that it will steer phone users toward Google services, such as Maps and Gmail, and the ads it sells. Compared to ads targeting PC surfers, mobile ads are a small market, but it's growing quickly. Research firm eMarketer expects U.S. mobile ad spending to grow 77 percent this year to $7.29 billion.    

With Home, Facebook is inserting itself between users and Google, diverting them to the social network's own ads and services. It's taking advantage of the fact that Google places few restrictions on how phone manufacturers and software developers modify Android. By contrast, Facebook Home would not work on the iPhone without approval from Apple Inc., and close collaboration with the company.     

"Facebook Home can only reside on Android because only Google was daft enough to allow it," said independent phone analyst Horace Dediu, via Twitter. 

At the launch event Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Google was aware of the project, but Facebook didn't work them to create Home. Asked if he believed Google could change tactics and restrict apps like Home, he said it was theoretically possible, but highly unlikely for Google to do a "180-degree change" in its stance on Android's openness. 

It's not the first time a big Internet company has co-opted Android: Amazon.com has gone much farther with its Kindle Fire tablets. They run a version of Android that strips out all Google services, replacing them with Amazon's equivalents. Barnes & Noble Inc. does the same thing with its Nook tablets. These devices lie outside the Google system, whereas phones running Facebook Home still come with Google apps like Maps and the Play Store for music, movies and applications.  

The Play Store has many examples of downloadable applications that modify the Android home screen - so-called "launchers." Home, however, represents the first time a major Internet company and Google competitor has created a downloadable launcher.     

J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth said Home may increase the pressure on Google to find ways to get people to spend more time on its Plus social network, which so far hasn't been as magnetic as Facebook's hangout. Anmuth also thinks the communication tools built into Home could decrease usage of Google's Gmail and Gchat services.   

But Zuckerberg said the app will help Google.    

"I think this is really good for Android," he told the audience at the launch event in Menlo Park, Calif. Developers do their best work on the iPhone first, but with Home, Facebook is putting Android first. If consumers want the Facebook Home experience, they'll have to get an Android phone.    

In a statement, Google seemed to agree. "This latest device demonstrates the openness and flexibility that has made Android so popular," it said.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Kiev: Moscow is backing eastern separatists

    Kiev: Moscow is backing eastern separatists

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:24 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:24:20 GMT
    Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says police have cleared the city hall in a southeastern city of pro-Russian protesters who had been occupying it for over a week.
    Ukraine's acting president has accused Russia of backing separatists in the country's restive east and demanded that Moscow stop its intimidation campaign and leave his country alone.
  • FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

    FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:04 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:04:09 GMT
    The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.
    The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels.
  • Silver Alert issued for missing, endangered Polk man, age 77

    Silver Alert issued for missing, endangered Polk man, age 77

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:02:12 GMT
    Robert Ringler, age 77, is considered missing and endangeredRobert Ringler, age 77, is considered missing and endangered
    The Polk County Sheriff's Office issued a Silver Alert Thursday morning for Robert Ringler, age 77, who is considered missing and endangered.
    The Polk County Sheriff's Office issued a Silver Alert Thursday morning for Robert Ringler, age 77, who is considered missing and endangered.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.