Last year Facebook unveiled Home, Android software that could transform a phone into a fast, social communicator from a device’s home screen. Messages could be sent and photos thumbed through without firing up Facebook’s native app.
Now, the original Home team within Facebook has turned over and the software hasn’t been updated in months. The once-shining product has become a dwindling priority for Facebook.
“Facebook has disbanded the team of engineers originally assigned to work on Facebook Home,” The New York Times’ Mike Isaac reports.
One of Home’s designers, Joey Flynn, is now the lead on Facebook’s new app, Slingshot. He’s been building the photo app, which launched a few weeks ago, since December. Another lead on Home, Adam Mosseri, is working on other initiatives as Facebook’s Director or Product.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed there is still a team committed to working on Home, even though some of the initial team members have chosen to disperse. Facebook didn’t shut down the entire operation, like it did with its Camera or Poke apps earlier this year. While the spokesperson wouldn’t comment on future Home updates, the product is “still supported and available for download.”
Even if Home hasn’t been killed yet, signs suggest Facebook may be leaning that way. Mark Zuckerberg admitted last year that the rollout was “slower” than he hoped it’d be. Also, some of Home’s most popular features, such as Chat Heads and Cover Feed have been lifted from Home and added to Facebook’s native Android app. Facebook integrated the most-popular features of its Camera app into its mobile apps before killing Camera altogether.
Instead of trying to own mobile software, Facebook has recently pushed to own the app space. It launched Creative Labs to build startups within Facebook, such as recently-released photo app Slingshot and mobile reader Paper. It has also acquired large apps in the social space, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
For a Q&A with one of the old designers of Home, check out: Joey Flynn, The Lead Slingshot Designer Who Wants To Change How 90% Of Us Use Social Networks >>