Facebook Home may be just what you were looking for, or something you just can’t think to have on your device. Taste is subjective, which is why some choose Google+ over Facebook… or vice versa. What we find interesting in Facebook Home is not what it gives us in terms of content, but how it’s delivered to us. In this new realm, we have a fresh idea in operating systems. More importantly, we have a better concept for keeping the operating system, but using an updated look for it.
With Facebook home, your Android operating system is controlled via an app/launcher/whatever you want to call it. We don’t quite know what to label it as, the concept is so new, but we’ll call it an app for the sake of discussion. With an app like this, your device essentially has a new ‘theme’ to it. For those of us who find certain aspects or apps of our device important to the use of it, this is an important breakthrough.
Again, we take Facebook home as the example. As I said in a previous article, if Facebook is centric to your daily life, this is a good app for you to use. The same concept applies across the board, to various other services or websites. The easiest comparison to make would be Google+, but let’s take it a step further. This is an excellent idea for Twitter, as well. Any post with a certain hashtag(s) of your choosing pops up in any screen, and you’re always in the know.
These apps don’t need to be complex, either. A simple pop-up function is an easy way to go, as many sites aren’t as robust or far-reaching as a Facebook. Things like chat, or pictures, can be lost on many sites. Some specialize in one arena of functionality, foregoing or neglecting the rest. Even with the limited functionality, everyone wins.
With an app that alters the look (and perhaps feel) of your device, the user has the ability to get tucked right into whatever arena they’re most comfortable in. You get exactly what you want, how you want it, and it’s easily disabled or deleted if you decide to go another way. This can be especially useful when traveling, or for sports fans as the seasons change.
Google also wins in this scenario. As this type of functionality is currently only available via Android, new attention is lavished on the platform. Google has the Play Store, which is the real means of creating revenue, and their services are top-notch. While an app that alters your device sounds a bit daunting, it may be a blessing for all.
With any new app comes the plausibility of risk. Again we look to Facebook, as our only example in this arena to date. The app may want permission to view your photos/contacts. Do you trust that? Can you trust that? Facebook has a poor track record of containing personal information, while not many other sites have a proven history one way or another. Depending on what information an app wants to view, you may be putting yourself at risk.
The Play Store may be the real bread-and-butter for Google, but this new wave of ‘apperating’ systems could have an ‘Amazon’ effect. Some larger sites with their own agenda could try to wall-off Android, as Amazon has, to build their own ecosystem. This isn’t wrong by any means, but it definitely takes away from the Android experience, which is what many are looking for. Even with an ecosystem like Amazon’s, it falls short in many respects.
The ‘apperating’ system is unique, and promising. It holds a lot of value, and is something we should all embrace and encourage. On the flip-side of that, we should be cautious of what we’re allowing those apps to do or see on our device. Visiting a site you consider interesting, or fun, is much different than allowing it access to your life.
If not traversed carefully, this new path may end quickly. Google has committed to Android being open… but abusing that privilege may bode poorly for some. In an odd twist of fate, Google could end up closing Android off if abused in any way. That would be the lose-lose scenario we’re all afraid of.