Yesterday, the new Android app Facebook Home became available on GooglePlay and pre-installed on HTC First. Facebook Home is the Facebook App on steroids. Instead of developing a costly OS, Facebook Home latches onto the heart of Android OS and puts Facebook at the center of virtually everything on your smartphone. Posts, chats, and timelines are now front and center of your smartphone experience. To learn a bit more check out the Forbes article.
Mark Zuckerberg’s strategy is a great and recent example of networking effects. Downloading the new Facebook Home app is akin to joining a new network. On an individual level, a user with few friends or prior Facebook activity would likely find the app to be a huge annoyance. A user with many friends and frequent Facebook activity would likely enjoy the app’s synergy with photos, text messaging, or web browsing. If Facebook already covers the OS, then there is minimal effort to stay online.
If no one was using Facebook Home, the network would have little value. Having the app pre-installed to leading Android phones creates upward pressure on users to download the app. Facebook users without the Home app will wish they had received the app and download it right away.
I’m happy to no longer be a Facebook user because I’m sure I would be both addicted and annoyed by Facebook Home. Also, Home will be closely monitoring mobile phone activity to gather market research and deliver targeted advertising through the app. I predict Facebook Home will be one of the most quick-spread, invasive, and lucrative applications in smartphone history.