Facebook hasn't given up on its glossy Android launcher Home just yet. The skin, which positions the social network as the gateway to the rest of your life, bombed with users after launching last April. Now that Facebook is focused on its new iOS app Paper, it seems like Home is destined to disappear. But not so fast.
Jocelyn Goldfein, a Facebook engineering director, recently told VentureBeat that Facebook is "still perfecting [Home], getting the right traction for that."
"We're still very bullish on Home," she added.
Goldfein's comments mimic what Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has said about Home. But Paper, the new Facebook app that marries your News Feed to a personalized newspaper, has turned Home's beautiful aesthetic into an actually functional service, which is what Home has struggled with from the start. Neither Sandberg nor Goldfein--or anyone else with Facebook--has said exactly what the network plans to do to make Home as user-friendly as Paper.
"I think it takes time, when you're building something genuinely new and disruptive...it takes time to get it right," Goldfein told VentureBeat. "I think we did a really good job with the polish, which is part of why I think [Home] got such almost fawning coverage at the outset. But I don't think we made it valuable to users from the outset."
In October, Home made itself more useful by integrating other social networks into your lock screen, so you could flip through posts from Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, and Tumblr along with Facebook updates. In December, Facebook updated Home to turn it into a more conventional Android launcher--a wallpaper of your choosing, views of the weather and time on your lock screen, the ability to swipe down to unlock your phone and see your apps, and a Cover Feed shortcut for jumping back into Facebook.
Home's updates have bumped up its ratings in Google Play, but more than a third of users have given the launcher a paltry one star--that's down from a full half, but still not great.