Facebook Home redesign

If you read the comments section under the The Verge's article about the big new 2.0 update for Facebook Home, there is much mockery and dismissal.

I looked at the video and screenshots, and this seems a bit unfair to me. The original version of FB Home was awful (no widgets, no folders, FB's own lame design language, just a very barebones and not-good launcher experience) but the new one seems to have fixed all that. It's finally a full-featured launcher.

(EDIT: A quick correction - I see on closer inspection that folder support has been added, but widgets are only scheduled for the next update.)

And dare I say - the redesigned app is kinda beautiful. It makes a good-faith effort to fit in with the Android design guidelines (for example, using Roboto typography and the familiar three-dot menu button) while still introducing some interesting and useful UI ideas of its own. This is an app that could easily be featured on AndroidNiceties:


Now, that said, I'm not going to use FB Home myself. I barely use Facebook, so a Facebook launcher/lockscreen is no good for me.

However, I'm fascinated by what this tells us about Facebook as a company. Namely:

1. It tells us that, somewhere within Facebook, there are indeed talented Android developers who understand the Android design guidelines, respect the platform, and are capable of producing beautiful native apps.

2. It also tells that, for some reason, Facebook restricts those developers to boutique projects like FB Home. It doesn't put them to work on, say, the actual Facebook app or Instagram (ie apps that people actually download).

Facebook, you make no sense.