Facebook announces new features for ‘Home’ as first update rolls out

facebook home

At 3pm PST, Facebook Home will receive its first update through Facebook for Android. The update will mostly fix up some bugs and performance issues, but new features are said to be on their way.

Facebook recently previewed some new features coming to Home like a “Dash Bar,” a list of your friends you can use to start chats and a “Dock” that will hold your favorite apps. No specific schedule has been set, but the word “monthly” was kicked around.

Home users are still safe from advertisements, at least for the time being. “We know we’re going to do ads in Home, but there are steps we need to take before we do that so they fit into Home’s aesthetic and they’re beautiful. We’re not ready yet,” said Facebook’s VP of Mobile Engineering, Cory Ondrejka.

An update on the number of users was also provided by Ondrejka, who said Home is nearing 1 million downloads and those who have it installed end up spending 25 percent more time on Facebook, TechCrunch. Among the favorite features are the Cover Feed and the brilliant Chat Heads. But Home has its fair share of problems as well, though Ondrejka didn’t address them specifically.

For instance, Facebook Home takes over your phone and removes the ability to use your widgets, folders, and app dock, all features that are at the core of Android’s appeal. Additionally, users are disoriented by how much control Facebook puts on their phone and are unsure how to reverse the change. But with a few new features, Facebook may be able to improve the experience.

A new app dock will be added to Home, a must-have feature if you ask us. Users may be able to build a dock from scratch or import an old setup. The Dock will stay static at the bottom of the screen, in the same way it is in stock Android. The app list and Dock will be accessible via a simple upward swipe.

To combat disorientation after installing Home, Facebook is tweaking the user interface to provide a more thorough introduction to Facebook Home’s specific navigation and feature set. Internally, it’s being referred to as “Blue’s Clues,” probably because of the blue instructional boxes that will be used in the tutorial.

Finally, Facebook will add the Dash Bar. A swipe to the left will create a Chat Head bubble containing a list of your online friends. From there, you can start a conversation with whomever is available. This implementation is much less obtrusive than the old way, allowing you to start Facebook Chat on top of Cover Feed rather than having to open a separate app.

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