Facebook still committed to its Android homescreen replacement app ...

Facebook Home App

.. despite underwhelming early days.

When Facebook Home launched for Android smartphones in April 2013, it was pitched as a way for anybody to – in CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s words – “turn your phone into a Facebook Phone”.

Since then, the homescreen-replacement app hasn’t set the world alight. It’s been installed less than 5m times according to the Google Play store’s stats, with a lowly 2.8-star rating (out of five) from reviewers.

That might sound like the makings of a product that will be quietly retired, but Facebook’s engineering director Jocelyn Goldfein has said that the social network remains committed to Home.

“Oh, we’re learning a lot. We’re still very bullish on Home. We’re not done with Home. I think part of the problem is launching with such fanfare at 1.0. No startup launching at 1.0 would get that much coverage,” she told VentureBeat in an interview this week.

Goldfein suggested that it will take time to get the application right, but that Facebook is investing in product development – rather than marketing – to make Home a success in the longer run.

“I think we did a really good job with the polish, which is part of why I think it got such almost fawning coverage at the outset. But I don’t know that we made it valuable to users from the outset,” she said.

“1.0 is the product where you are searching for that value proposition. We’re patient; we’re prepared to give it time. We’re believers in Home; we believe it’s going to be valuable for users. But it’s on us to cause that to happen.”

Facebook ended 2014 with 945m monthly active mobile users, out of a total active userbase of 1.23bn people. That means less than 0.5% of Facebook’s active mobile users have installed Home – although it’s unknown what percentage of its user base own Android devices.

The company has said it plans to launch more standalone apps in 2014 to complement its main app, and sit alongside Facebook Messenger, news-reading app Paper and Facebook Home on the app stores.

“One of the things that we want to try to do over the next few years is build a handful of great new experiences that are separate from what you think of as Facebook today,” Zuckerberg told analysts in Facebook’s most recent financial earnings call.

Facebook’s mobile journey has only just begun

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 18th February 2014 09.46 Europe/London

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