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Facebook Home goes global as Chat Heads arrive on iOS
If you’ve been longing for Facebook Home but live outside the US, you can rest your FOMO aside. The app is now available to international markets and, if you’re an iOS user, you can now get a taste of it too.
The social network’s VP of mobile engineering Corey Ondrejka confirmed that the app was launching to the rest of the world during AllThingsD’s Dive Into Mobile conference yesterday.
“Just today we’re going to be opening [Home] up to the rest of the world,” Ondrejka said. “We launched in the US because we wanted to make sure we could iron out any remaining bugs.”
Judging by some early reviews those bugs haven’t been insignificant. The app has a paltry two and a half star rating on the Google Play store with some calling it clunky and unintuitive, especially in comparison to other launchers.
Despite this reception, Facebook seems bent on implementing elements of Home into all of its mobile products. The latest update to its iPhone app includes the Chat Heads instant messaging feature. The feature allows you to keep chatting when you’re doing other stuff on Facebook, like checking your News Feed. You can tap chat heads to reply, drag them around, or flick them down to close.
According to ReadWrite, this stripped down version of Chat Heads — unlike the Android version, you can’t mix SMSes with Facebook messages or pop chats up on top of other apps — shows why Facebook decided to go with Google’s Mobile OS when building Home. iOS is just too restrictive.
If Apple wants to maintain the strict control it currently has over the operating system it had better hope that Home is a massive flop. Otherwise it may have to start layering apps on top of each other in future versions of iOS. That would be a massive gamble though. It’s just not Apple and would probably alienate large sections of the Apple faithful.
At the same time, the social giant rolled out an updated version of its iPad app, with the largest update coming in the form of the revamped news feed it announced back in March.