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BLOG: Android and Facebook work together on Home, not competitively

Steve Patterson | April 19, 2013
How Facebook Home accomplishes its mobile goals without interfering with the Android user experience.

Speaking about the future, Ondrejka explained that Facebook would add widgets and folders for the new launcher. He also said that once the Home user experience is better understood, there would be advertising on Coverfeed, but video ads would be excluded.

Most interesting was Ondrejka's account of Facebook's fast break into mobile development. Facebook has approximately one engineer for every one million subscribers, which is about a thousand developers. To move the development team from web to mobile, Facebook has cross-trained over 600 engineers in both iOS and Android development.

In building Facebook's first native app, Ondrejka moved software releases to fixed monthly release dates where incomplete code is excluded in order to keep the release date and assure a steady stream of new features delivered to users and more user feedback for improving the design.

The selection of what to build is based on the improvement of social connections and sharing of "social state." Improvements to the social value or UI are the criteria to rank new features.

Facebook is part a small group of companies, along with Amazon, Apple and Google, that provide platforms with huge scale and large cloud-based services serving a range of presentation devices while operationally maintaining high system-wide availability and performance. In the future, this model will become predominant. By necessity, Facebook is experimenting horizontally with cutting edge mobile development, keeping up with the fast pace of mobile innovation while scaling mobile software engineering vertically throughout its platform to support the new capabilities of mobile devices.

Curious Android users who have one of the select smartphones supported by Facebook's current release of Home or those comfortable with patched software by MoDaCo that works on many Android smartphones should download Home, develop their own opinion through experience, and participate in its evolution.



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