Facebook iPhone App Gets Chat Heads; Is Facebook Home On The Way?

 @ryanWneal
on April 16 2013 3:12 PM

Is Facebook Home coming to iPhones and Windows Phones? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Facebook’s director of product, Adam Mosseri, said in a Monday interview with Bloomberg that the social network is in an ongoing conversation with Apple and Microsoft about bringing the app to their respective mobile platforms. But a Tuesday article on The Next Web contradicts Bloomberg, citing a source inside Facebook that says no such discussions are taking place. Which statement is the most likely?

Facebook is obviously interested in expanding its presence on all mobile platforms. With more and more people accessing Facebook through mobile devices, the company wants them to be as engaged as possible to encourage advertisers to spend more time on promotions. Facebook is already natively integrated into iOS and Windows Phone, and the social network announced today that the next update to its iOS app will include a modified version of Chat Heads. 

That doesn't mean a full version of Facebook Home is on its way anytime soon. Home takes over the entire user interface of Android phones, and it is unlikely that Apple or Microsoft would be willing to give up this amount of control. Apple is known for keeping a short lease on its APIs, and Microsoft designed Windows Phone to be a unique experience that works seamlessly with Windows 8. Microsoft also took offense to Facebook’s “people, not apps” tagline, writing a blog post about the similarities between Facebook Home and Windows Phone 7.

Apple and Microsoft would have to make some pretty fundamental changes to their mobile strategies for Facebook Home to work as it currently does on Android’s open platform. What seems more likely is a different version that brings some of Facebook Home’s features to the current iOS and Windows Phone apps, similar to the introduction of Chat Heads. Messaging with the Facebook app will now use Chat Heads, but it won't work outside of the app the way it does in Home.

“It may or may not be Home,” Mosseri said. “We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it's not called Home, it's called something else.”

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