At the unveiling event, Mark Zuckerberg and company promised Facebook Home would give me the best Facebook experience around. And I believed them. Being the obsessive Facebooker that I am, I couldn’t wait to download the overlay onto my Samsung Galaxy Note II, which I did on Friday. Today, I’m even more excited to uninstall it.
During our time with the HTC First and two other downloaded versions of Facebook Home we found some seemingly random and disturbing glitches, which you might expect from an initial software release. For instance, my Galaxy Note II won’t maintain access to the pull-down notification drawer. Also Chat Heads was not on by default, which was odd. And, on our HTC First, we were able to bypass the lock screen. But we don’t know if those are common or widespread problems.
However, our five primary gripes are definite reasons you don’t want Facebook Home.
1. My News Feed and Cover Feed don’t match
On my desktop Facebook, when my core group of friends posts new material, it immediately shows up on my News Feed. That is not true of Cover Feed. I do get a notification that said friend has posted, but it does not follow (strangely) that that post will appear next up in my Cover flow.
For instance, several friends posted about concern for friends in Boston following the bombings at the marathon. What does Cover Feed show me? A list of things Rick Astley will never do and a story about how to awaken my lawn from its winter slumber, neither of which show up as new in my desktop News Feed.
2. I’m an extra tap away from everything but Facebook.
Yes, Facebook is often my first stop when I wake up my phone. But not always. Sometimes I need to look something up on Chrome or I want to play “Scramble with Friends” or listen to a book on Audible.
Now I have to wake up my screen, swipe up to my apps, flip to that page of my home screens with the app in question and open that app, and then unlock my screen to access that app. Granted, this last step has to do with me having the sense to lock up my screen so strangers can’t access all my stuff. But there’s still an extra step in there.
3. Butt ‘Liking’? Really?
Thanks to screen locks, butt dialing is almost a thing of the past. But, with Facebook Home, now you can “butt like” things. Imagine your boss is your friend — not a huge stretch for lots of people. Now imagine a different friend posts a very inappropriate picture — again, not a huge stretch. Now imagine if your boss sees that you liked that picture? This has not happened to me, yet. But, I did speak with reps for HTC and Facebook who confirmed this has happened to people who had early access to the HTC First. That’s because you don’t have to unlock the screen to like, you just have to double tap.
4. Images in Cover Feed are Hit or Miss.
I love Someecards and other graphically engaging links that show up on my Facebook News Feed. In Cover Feed, those links only show up with the text of the person’s post and the link. How do I know if I want to open the link from Salon.com if I can’t see the picture that goes with the post that reads “Beer should be like violence: domestic”? And I’m dying to know what picture goes with “The Awkwardest Moment of My Life” from Roflzone.com, but to find out I have to click the link, unlock my screen and wait for my Web browser to load it.
5. I Can’t Access Non-News Feed Facebook Easily.
Facebook Home is not to be confused with Facebook. I can say that definitively because you won’t be able to access your profile, events or games without accessing the full Facebook app. That means swiping to your apps, opening the Facebook app, unlocking your screen and then clicking to view that upcoming event. If you’re going to make Home for power Facebook users, shouldn’t it be powerful?