My Month With Facebook Home
For the last year or so, we’ve been hearing about the rumoured “Facebook Phone.” On April 5th, my pal Zuck announced Facebook Home. It’s an app that replaces your Android’s home screen with a full-on Facebook experience, including full-screen photos, status updates, notifications, and chat heads. So it’s not a Facebook Phone, but instead how you can turn your phone into a Facebook Phone.
“Why do I need more Facebook?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. At the Facebook Home launch event, Mark Zuckerberg started off with, “After noting we spend more than 20% of our mobile time on social apps, we asked ourselves: if we’re already spending this much time on our phone, how can we make it easier? What if they were designed around people first, and you could also just happen to interact with apps?” What I got from that is that Zuck wants to help us save time and do more. Right? So I decided to test out Facebook Home once it became available in Canada. I only had to wait 11 days.
Before I give you my take on it, I just want to be completely transparent… I’m not an Android guy. I love my iPhone. So before I really got into Facebook Home, I needed to learn to get comfortable with the Android. And it was easy; Androids are really easy to use. But I digress. This isn’t about the Android. It’s about Facebook Home.
Once Facebook Home is installed, you’re in. Facebook has now taken over your phone! You’ll start by seeing your Newsfeed (I’m not going to get into details about the Newsfeed; if you use Facebook, you know what it is). I didn’t mind this. The pictures were full-screen, and if you “click” (hold your finger on the image), you’ll see the full image. It was easy to flip through and check out my newsfeed. But what I didn’t like is that there wasn’t much rhyme or reason for the updates. I had old updates mixed in with recent updates. When I check Facebook, I want to know what’s happening now; I don’t really care about What’s Hot. I do like that you can comment and like posts right from the home screen. It saved me ten whole seconds.
Next up, Chat Heads.
See the floating head at the top of the image? That’s a Chat Head. It’s not exclusive to Facebook Home anymore, but boy, is it annoying. Maybe it’s because I always have my chat turned off on Facebook, but I really don’t like this idea at all. If I want to chat with my friends on Facebook, I’ll do it. I don’t need to chat and check out Facebook at the same time. Humans weren’t made for multitasking. Although Chat Heads is just not for your Facebook conversations. Nope, even your text conversations are routed through Chat Heads. I should also mention that Chat Heads will still show up outside of Facebook Home. What that means is, if you’re playing Angry Birds, you can still chat with your Facebook friends.
That’s really about it for Facebook Home. It ultimately puts Facebook front and centre on your phone. You don’t have to open the Facebook app to see what’s going on; it’s right there. I’m not a huge Facebook user; I don’t want to see Facebook all the time. When I want Facebook, I’ll go to Facebook. Needless to say, Facebook Home wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m obviously not in their demographic. If you’re the average Facebook user who’s checking it upwards of 16 times a day, I recommend you get an Android with Facebook Home. This was made for you.
Twitter Releases Their #Music Platform
This morning, Twitter finally released their music streaming platform. Go take a look (well, listen) via music.twitter.com. I’ve dropped listening to my regular podcasts this morning to see how this works.
I’m really impressed. It looks like the people at Twitter took some time to launch this properly. It’s clean and easy to use, and most importantly, it’s fully integrated with Twitter. I like the various ways to discover music. You can see what’s popular on Twitter, what people I’m following are listening to, and which artists I’m following, as well as check out emerging artists and get a suggested list of artists.
When you first hit Play, you only get a snippet of the song. In order to get the full song, you must allow Twitter to integrate with Spotify (which unfortunately isn’t available in Canada) or Rdio. So do yourself a favour and set up an Rdio account. It’s completely worth it!
Other cool features include following the artists with one easy click and the ability to Tweet the song you’re listening to.
More to come as I continue to listen. Have you tried it out yet? What do you think? Is this Twitter’s response to the new Myspace? Send us a Tweet via @ignition_media.
MAY 13 UPDATE
Shortly after releasing the web version, a iOS app became available. I downloaded it, however, it wasn’t useful for me. I don’t have a paid Rdio account, so I could only listen to previews of songs. Mind you, it was nice to see what friends are listening to and I could make mental notes of what to check out. But I’m on the go a lot and don’t always have time to go back to my computer to listen to new tracks.
I see the potential and the benefits of Twitter #Music. Are you still using it?
Have you ever wondered what the upper limit on how many times you can attach and detach a Lego brick is? If not, you may not have played with enough Lego as a child. That’s okay – the great thing about being an adult is that you can spend all of your money on Lego, and nobody can tell you not to.
A gentleman named Phillipe Cantin decided he needed to know. Here are the results:
He posted another video four days later:
Now that is dedication. To get all the gory details, check out his blog post about it: http://phillipecantin.blogspot.ca/2013/02/legos-magic-number-is-37112.html.
The New Facebook News Feed
We just told you about a change to Facebook last week. And they are at it again.
Earlier today, Facebook announced a complete redesign to their News Feed. And as expected, it’s all about removing the clutter and making the News Feed a more stunning visual experience.
They’ve redesigned every single type of News Feed story. The most noticeable difference is the size of the image or video thumbnail.
There have been another changes that aren’t as much visual as they are experiential.
Facebook knows that a lot of its users come to the site and only have a few minutes. Most users will just check their News Feed and move on. One of the new features is providing different feeds. You will be able to have filtered News Feeds. This means you can only shows updates for what you want to see. That can include photos, music, games, just your groups, all your friends, or a following feed. The following feed is just for any celebrities, bands, or brands that you might follow. I’m sure you will be able to have a limitless number of feeds to make sure you will only see what you want to see.
Lastly, they’ve also unified the look and feel across all devices. Basically, Facebook will look the same whether you’re using it on your computer or mobile device.
Facebook wants to make a better user experience. They are becoming better and better at giving that to its users. I’m sure a lot of people will moan and complain. But this is a great change.
You can sign up now to get Beta access before it becomes mandatory for all users. Just scroll to the bottom of this page.
UPDATE (Mar 14): Facebook started rolling out the new layout yesterday. I still don’t have it yet, so I can’t give you a hands-on trial, but Facebook has updated their site with more details about the new news feed. All the details are here.
Simply put, we go all in when it comes to creative. I can easily say that we have one of the brightest and hardest working creative teams around. Everyone consistently puts in 100%. And because of that, great ideas are generated. But every now and then we like to have a little bit of fun outside of the day-to-day. So last month we set aside some of our foosball time and put it towards a project of a different sort. The project was codenamed “Imperial March.”
Another YouTube Easter Egg
I’m sure you’re well aware of the newest meme, The Harlem Shake. If not, take 31 seconds to view the original. Otherwise you’ll be confused by what I’m about to show you.
Google is well known for hiding easter eggs in search terms and on YouTube. They’ve done it again with the Harlem Shake. Here’s how to see it:
- Visit youtube.com.
- In the search box, type “Do The Harlem Shake.” Hit enter.
- Now wait.
Have a great weekend.
HTML5 and Text Emphasis
While browsing Twitter’s (really great) Bootstrap project, I noticed something interesting this week. In the past, I’ve used <b> and <strong> interchangeably, and <i> and <em> interchangeably. After all, one set is for bold, one set is for italics, right? Twitter has an interesting take on this (and the W3C agrees):
Heads up! Feel free to use
<b>is meant to highlight words or phrases without conveying additional importance while
<i>is mostly for voice, technical terms, etc.
So, the rule is:
Additional Importance, and Bold: <strong>
Additional Importannce, and Italic: <em>
No Additional Importance, and Bold (say, as a stylistic choice, or to mark a difference in tone) <b>
No Additional Importance, and Italic (a direct quote) <i>
So why do we care? You and I may not, but a screen reader needs to know, and Google’s search bot does, too. Using the right tag will help a blind person to understand the text on your site, while helping Google understand the difference between your sarcasm and your mission statement.
A Supersonic Ping Pong Gun
Don’t try this at home, kids. These guys are professional nerds.
Guided tour of the International Space Station
This was way too cool not to share. Give it two minutes; you’ll end up watching the whole thing.