Facebook Home Launches on Android With Chat Heads Messaging Feature

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook launched its new Android "experience", Facebook Home, with a messaging feature called Chat Heads at its heart.

When a user's Facebook friends start a new chat, their picture pops up on Android phone home page in a small bubble – a "chat head".

"We think that Chat Heads are this great, personal way to do messaging," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the presentation in San Francisco, California.

Adam Mosseri, Facebook product designer, said the feature would personalise people's phones better. "What we're trying to do is shift people's focus away from tasks and apps and toward people," he said,

He demonstrated how the phone bounces back and forth between the various features. "There's nothing between you and your content. You can literally just reach out and touch it," Mosseri says.

If you can't quite picture Chat Heads, imagine if the text message bubble on your phone expanded and saturated everything, everyone in your contacts grew a bobble head, and whenever you revved up your phone, your friends' heads would be there, talking to you.

"It really feels like your friends are always there," Mosseri said. "Your friends shouldn't be siloed off from these apps."

The appeal of this feature for you will depend in part on whether you think it's nice to have your friends always there.

Reaction was, inevitably, mixed: Guardian commentator Dan Gillmor wasn't buying the hype.

But Ant de Rosa, social media editor at Reuters, liked the Chat Heads feature.

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Tom McCarthy, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 4th April 2013 18.59 Europe/London

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