The Android Facebook app's most recent update has includes a feature that had previously been exclusive to Facebook Home. Is this a reflection of how poorly the Home app is being received?
Cover Feed: From Home to Facebook
In its most recent update, the Android Facebook app has added a few functionality features such as being able to save photos from a phone to a photo viewer, but the most noticeable update is the addition of Facebook Home’s Cover Feed.
Cover Feed is an automated feature that updates a person’s lock screen with status updates, photo posts and other content that would normally appear on a news feed.
Your lock screen will passively show you photos from high school friends, or your aunt, or so-and-so’s baby,” wrote Kif Leswing. “While this may be a Trojan horse bearing annoyances -- eventually, Cover Feed will include advertisements on the lock screen -- mainly, it’s a way for heavy Facebook users to get more Facebook.”
A Facebook representative noted to Jennifer Van Grove, who in her article called Home “a poorly rated social-networking software package that made Facebook the heart of select Android phones,” that the Cover Feed was one of Home’s most popular features and they wanted to make it more accessible.
The social network did not comment if the move of this popular feature is attributed to the fact that Home has had less than favorable reviews since its launch and its usership is dwindling, or if this is a marketing move to bring more users over to Home.
The Problem With Home
According to the app’s page on Google Play, Home has had between 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 installs since its launch in April, but this number doesn't mean much to reviewers. Many users noted that the app took over their phone and was "too much Facebook at one time." Others were worried about privacy issues and their account's security, including Christopher Radenovic.
I plugged my headphones into my phone when the screen was off and locked,” he wrote. “It then turned on and went directly to the Facebook home page without requiring a password. This does not make me feel very safe.”
There have been a few good reviews though that found the app has some potential.
I don't plan to use this as a replacement to my home screen but works great as a lock screen,” wrote Eduardo Emmanuel Tacolod Jr. “If you can just add a bit of security measures when using this as a lock screen, that would be perfect."
The app only ranks a 2.4 out of 5 with 10,604 of the reviewers only giving it one star.
Along with the Cover feed other Home feature are Chat Heads which allows users to send and receive text and Facebook messages, notifications and an app launcher where users can launch other apps such as Instagram.
It should also be noted that theCover Feed, despite being part of a larger Facebook app update is only available for certain devices, as is Facebook Home. These devices are the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nexus 4, HTC One X, HTC One X+ and HTC One.