Rene Ritchie on the “Facebook Phone”:
Just as they overwhelmed and walled the web to build their desktop platform, Facebook could have a way to face-hugger Android phones and remake them, Facebook-formed…
“Face-hugger” — that’s a good way to put it, I think.
Nice scoop by Josh Constine of TechCrunch:
Facebook just invited press to an event at its headquarters on April 4th to “Come See Our New Home On Android”. Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset. The evidence aligns to say this is the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about for years.
Others have since backed this up as well.
I was a few months off, but this is basically what I had heard back in January as well.
There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not this would constitute a “fork” of Android. It would seem there is a way for Facebook to do this with Google’s blessing (just as they bless TouchWiz and other “skins”). But make no mistake, this is not stock Android. Facebook will deeply inject their own apps into the core of the OS. As long as they don’t replace Search, Maps, and a few others, Google should be okay with it — for now.
One wildcard is the Play Store. Facebook has their own App Center (which right now links to Play Store and the App Store), which they presumably could make work as a stand-alone Android app store as well. But it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t piss off Google. See: Amazon.
Another question: what will the carriers think of this? Presumably, they’ll have at least one on board with the HTC phone. Facebook has been making a lot of noise about “free calls” within their Messenger apps — this could all but destroy the notion of cellular “minutes”.
Of course, that writing has been on the wall for some time. Data phones are the way going forward. Still, the carriers must be a little scared of the post-minutes, post-SMS world that this Facebook Phone highlights. It’s a huge change. The carriers are finally becoming the dumb pipes they were meant to be.
Justine Sharrock for BuzzFeed on Matt Jones (best known for his work with Pixar) working with Facebook on a new class of emoticons:
Right now, Jones is experimenting with colors beyond the default yellow used in most other emoticons. He tried “Facebook blue,” thinking it might have become familiar enough to users, but said the emoticons just looked like they had hypothermia. He’s experimenting with multiple colors: red for anger, green for envy. “But you don’t want to offend anyone,” he explains. “Colors will be a racial issue.”
I was never a big emoticon user until about a year ago when I enabled them on my iPhone. Now I’m addicted. You can convey so much without typing.
(I also love that BuzzFeed has adopted the to-the-top button found on Tumblr.)
Look at that. Mobile hugely up, and personal computer usage for Facebook is actually down.
Take heed, and ignore this trend at your peril. Mobile isn’t the future anymore. It’s the present.
And I’ll just add that while there’s recently been quite a bit of talk about going back to “web first”, Facebook’s numbers are especially important here. Yes, a lot of early adopters are still heavy traditional web (meaning desktop/laptop-based) users. But Facebook is at full mainstream scale with a billion-plus users and the trend is clear. If you’re thinking big and for the future, you have to think mobile.
What’s worse Facebook or cigarettes? How about Facebook branded smokes. No seriously #sanfrancisco
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
Josh Constine of TechCrunch on Facebook shutting off “Find Friends” access to an increasing number of apps/services:
After shutting down data access to several competing apps, Facebook today made two major clarifications to its Platform Policy, banning apps that use its data but make it easy for users to share back to Facebook, or that replicate its core functionality without permission. Facebook Platform Head Justin Osofsky tried to calm fears by noting the majority of developers should “keep doing what you’re doing”.
Essentially, Facebook is saying that there will be “no more free lunch” for these third-party apps. Either share back to Facebook in a major way — content which Facebook can then advertise against — or get lost. Obviously, it’s a pretty shitty stance to take, but it shouldn’t be surprising — Facebook needs to make money.
I’m more surprised to see Facebook screw “competing” apps, because, let’s be honest, at the billion-user scale, no one is really competing with Facebook. At best, this makes them look like bullies. At worst, it makes them look weak and afraid.
I also love the name of the new section in Facebook’s Platform Policy: “Reciprocity”. I can’t help but be reminded of the key operation in Tom Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger. My favorite back-and-forth from the film of the same name:
John Clark: “Reciprocity.” That’s a clever name for it. Revenge is a very, very, very dangerous motivation.
Robert Ritter: Are you able to handle this operation or not? What I’m looking for here is a simple yes or no.
John Clark: What you’re looking for is a political mess.
Robert Ritter: Yes or no?
John Clark: Is that what they want? Because that’s what this is.
Robert Ritter: They want what every first-term administration wants - a second term.
“It turns out Facebook’s doing just fine with the kids these days — in fact, slightly more of the younger demographic reported using it regularly. But perhaps most impressive was Tumblr topping the list at #1, with 59% of respondents saying they used it regularly.”
What if you combined Windows 8 and MySpace into a Facebook design concept? Well, you’d have this.
Interesting, but would be completely unusable by something like 90% of Facebook’s audience. There’s a reason why massive sites don’t do drastic redesigns all at once, and it has nothing to do with a lack of good designers (of which Facebook has plenty).