Pat Pilcher: Facebook Home fails

Photo / AP
Photo / AP

After a significant amount of hype and fanfare, it looks like the recently launched Facebook Home android app has bombed. The Facebook based launcher became available for download at the Google Play store on the 12th, and has been steadily getting panned by reviewers on Google's Play app store.

Reviews have given Home an average score of 2.9 out of 5, with only 708 reviewers giving it 5 stars. Just under half of all ratings for Facebook Home have been 1 star, with reviewer complaints many and varied.

One Google play review starts with "Ugh!", stating that Facebook Home is "Not an intuitive app. Made my phone so frustratingly complicated to use that I uninstalled after just four or five hours. Unless major changes are made including an easy way to get to my home screen I will not reinstall."

Another reviewer sums up the biggest challenge Facebook home faces - the sheer number of other Android launchers already available "No widgets, kinda clunky, and petty much just Facebook with access to your apps drawer.

Meh, an unimpressive launcher compared to most others."

Even though other reviews are less damming, a recurring theme appears to be battery life, with several reviews noting that Facebook Home has killed battery life on their handsets as one reviewer notes; "Kills my battery on my galaxy note 2.:-) ITS COOL but I need my phones battery to last the day."

Whilst it could be argued that Facebook haters are posting large numbers of negative reviews, Google Play only allows Android users who've downloaded and installed the app to post reviews and rate the application, so it appears that the bulk of negative comments posted and ratings are legitimate.

The failure of Facebook Home comes at a bad time for the social media giant, who with over a billion registered users is the one of the largest social networking services in existence. As recently as December last year, Facebook's growth prospects were subject to intense scrutiny as their users fell in the UK by just under 2%, or 600,000 users. This in turn led to speculation around Facebook's financial situation. Having limped through a vastly overhyped IPO, Facebook has yet to convert its scale into revenues. Making the move into the mobile space is strategically vital for Facebook. Smartphones, tablets have grown at an explosive rate - and Facebook needs their Home app to succeed if they're to make a buck in this space.

- NZ Herald

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