Facebook Home isn't catching on with users, and the social network knows that. Maybe that's why Facebook keeps adding the new launcher's best features, like Chat Heads and now Cover Feed, to its Android app. Android users can get the best of Home without ever downloading the launcher.
The social network Thursday pushed out an update that lets Android users with Home-supported phones--a list that now includes the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Nexus 4--see the stylish Cover Feed without using Home.
Cover Feed replaces the standard smartphone lock screen with rotating photos from your friends' Facebook updates. You can like or comment on photos in Cover Feed without even opening the Facebook app. Cover Feed is Home's main artery, the gloss that made Home feel more like an experience than a launcher. Now (almost) everyone has it.
Facebook has maintained its support for Home since introducing the product in April, promising rolling updates to make the launcher better and faster for the long haul. In the company's second-quarter earnings conference call last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaffirmed Facebook's commitment to both Home and Graph Search.
"Graph Search and Home are completely new kinds of products and they're just going to take longer to develop," he told investors.
But Facebook is racing to capture a significant piece of the mobile ads pie--an effort that has been wildly successful so far--and needs to give all of its mobile users access to its best features.
If Cover Feed makes Facebook fans happy and leads them to open the app more frequently, more eyeballs will land on News Feed ads. That means a bigger chunk of Facebook's revenue will come from mobile ads--that number has already grown from zero to 41 percent in a little over a year.