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What does Facebook want to do with Home?

Take Apple and Google and Amazon (who are rumoured to soon come out with their own phone/OS)? That is not their intention, according to Facebook platform director, Doug Purdy, who was speaking to Fast Company. Claiming that Facebook Home is something more than an app, but not quite a full-fledged operating system, he went on to say, "We are the communication infrastructure that allows people to communicate with other people, and that allows applications and brands and advertisers to communicate with people". (Emphasis mine).

If this is the experience I will have in using my phone (cluttered with updates from Facebook friends), I don't think I will like it. I concede that I'm not indicative of the target audience. Right now, there are no advertisements. Add to these updates the sponsored posts (and Facebook's new video advertisements?) and it will be extremely hard to persuade me to be a long-term (>3 months) user. I'm sure that the thousands of people who have rated the app one on ten on Google Play will feel the same way.

In his interview, Doug Purdy indicates at several improvements already in the pipeline, which makes me think that Home was brought out in a bit of a hurry to have a big enough user-base before Facebook's video advertisements are rolled out by June-July this year.

Given that a lot of people spend more time looking at their phone screens than their TV screens (or PC/tablet screens) on any day, it is understandable (indeed commendable) why Facebook has gone for an app rather than an OS. This will give them a lot more reach.

A key feature of Home is how it allows users to chat with friends while using other apps. This will allow Facebook to gather even more personal and behavioural data about users (and their friends) which will aid it in its march towards pin-point precision targeting of advertisements.

While Home is an exciting development from a marketing perspective, it is yet to go a long way in pleasing the users (without whom, the excitement about the marketing opportunities will die down). 

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