Facebook Home

Facebook Home is a bold move by Facebook to essentially take over the home screen on Android.

This is made possible by the fact that Google gives applications all the access they need to do this.  But how is this going to play out?

Years ago I was a Windows developer, and one of the blogs I used to follow, and continue following to this day, is Raymond Chen’s excellent blog, The Old New Thing.  One of the themes that he’s posted on over the years is the problem of “What if two programs did this?“.  

An example Raymond uses is developers asking the question, how can I make my window topmost so that no other window can obscure it.  It’s an interesting question and you can come up with various ways that a window can try to remain on top, but in the end, only one window can really be on top. In some cases it has turned into an arms race.  Whichever program finds the most effective way to do it wins.

So what happens on Android when someone else wants to do what Facebook just did?  What happens when Twitter wants to create a new home screen for Android?  

Facebook has just started an arms race.

The carriers will want to own the home screen, of course.  They always do.  Facebook seems like the kind of company that would give the carriers what they want in exchange for access to the home screen, so I’ll bet your Facebook Home will have Rogers or AT&T “stuff” in it as well.  Either that or the carriers are going to be working on their own home screen.

Twitter’s not going to be happy about this.  How long before Twitter Home?

And so on.  I’ll bet we see a half dozen home screen replacements before the end of the year.

Google, of course, wants to own the home screen as well.  And Google has the power to shut this down, by taking away the access necessary to become the home screen.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.