Facebook Home: An app you don't want to connect to friends you don't have

Facebook's new mobile app wants to get up close and personal with your phone. But is it enough to cure Facebook fatigue?

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Wired's Steve Levy has a friendly little interview with Mark Zuckerberg, accompanied by a truly frightening photo of the 28-year-old megabillionaire. Seriously, if there are small children in the room while you're reading this, be sure to shoo them away before clicking on that link. Why is it that every close-up portrait of Zucky makes him look like Gollum from "Lord of the Rings?" But I digress.

Zuckerberg explains, for the 7,234,651st time, why Facebook didn't build a phone:

I've always been very clear that I don't think that's the right strategy. We're a community of a billion-plus people, and the best-selling phones -- apart from the iPhone -- can sell 10, 20 million. If we did build a phone, we'd only reach 1 or 2 percent of our users. That doesn't do anything awesome for us. We wanted to turn as many phones as possible into "Facebook phones." That's what Facebook Home is.

Why not build first for the iPhone, like nearly everybody else does? Because Apple wouldn't let Facebook have its way with its APIs or give it direct access to the hardware. In the world of mobile operating systems, iOS is the pruney old spinster down the street, while Android is the floozy next door.

Forbes blogger Jeff Bercovici has another explanation. He believes that Home is the social network's response to Facebook fatigue, a phenomenon that seems to be spreading like kudzu after a summer storm:

Giving a public that has pretty clearly said it could stand a little less Facebook in its face, a product designed to make them spend dramatically more time Facebooking is a little perverse, but the potential rewards are enormous. It's a little like the way corn growers figured out that, while Americans can only be induced to eat so much corn, they'll consume virtually endless amounts if you slip a tiny bit into everything they eat in the form of corn syrup.

For me, though, it's too late. I'm beyond Facebook fatigue. I've sailed past Facebook ennui and Facebook apathy and am headed straight toward a Facebook coma. Not even the comforts of Home can fix that.

Will you make a home for Facebook Home? Cast your thoughts below or email me: cringe@facebook.com.

This article, "Facebook Home: An app you don't want to connect to friends you don't have," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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