News / USA

Facebook Showcases 'Home' for Phones; Takes On Google

A projection screen displays the new Facebook Home software for Android during a Facebook press event, in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013.
A projection screen displays the new Facebook Home software for Android during a Facebook press event, in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Facebook Inc. unveiled "Home" software on Thursday to place the world's social network front and center on Android users' smartphones, a move that may divert users from Google Inc. services and steal some of its rival's momentum in the fast-growing mobile arena.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chief executive speaks during a Facebook press event in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013.Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chief executive speaks during a Facebook press event in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013.
x
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chief executive speaks during a Facebook press event in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chief executive speaks during a Facebook press event in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013.
Its new family of apps will let users display mobile versions of their newsfeed and messages prominently on the home screens of a wide range of devices based on Google's Android operating system, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters.

Shares in Facebook climbed two percent to $26.83 in the afternoon. Google stock was off 1.5 percent at $793.81.

"Why do we need to go into those apps in the first place to see what's going on with those we care about?'' Zuckerberg told the hundreds of reporters and industry executives gathered at Facebook's Menlo Park campus. "We want to bring all this content to the front.''

Facebook executives showed a new "chatheads" messaging service and "coverfeed'' -- both of which dominate users' home screens and continuously feed messages, photos, status updates and other content from Facebook's network.

"Home'' brings the competition between the two Web superpowers to the mobile front, which is becoming many consumers' primary conduit to the Internet. Facebook, the world's largest social network, and Google, the dominant Internet search engine, are locked in battle for Internet users' time online and for advertising dollars.

For Facebook, bolstering its mobile presence is critical.

Nearly 70 percent of Facebook members used mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to access its service at the end of 2012, and 157 million of Facebook's roughly one billion users accessed the service solely on a mobile device.

The company has stepped up efforts to ensure that its revenue-generating ads can be viewed on mobile devices and Zuckerberg has said that the company's engineers are now focused on creating "mobile-first experiences.''

Reports that Facebook was developing its own smartphone have sporadically appeared for years though Zuckerberg has shot them one down, saying that building a Facebook phone would be "the wrong strategy.''

With specialized software that adds a layer on top of Android, Facebook may get many of the benefits of having its own phone without the costs and risks of actually building a hardware device.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid