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Facebook Home brings a social view to your Android phone

Facebook Home brings a social view to your Android phone

Facebook today announced something a tad more humble than the rumored phone or operating system: Facebook Home, an enhancement for Android phones. Available as a free download from the Google Play app store in about a week, Facebook Home turns the popular social-network app into an interface, situating itself between you and Google’s Android operating system.

Also announced were phones that will come with Facebook Home preinstalled; The first is the HTC First, which will have a 4.3-inch display and be available on April 12, $100 with a two-year contract on AT&T.

As you’d expect, the enhanced app puts Facebook content front and center while providing “seamless” access to the phone’s other apps and functions, said Facebook. It even circumvents Google’s app store, because once installed, Facebook Home will handle its own updates—at least once a month.

Find the best smart phone for you: Check our cell phone buying guide and Ratings.

Facebook Home’s main characteristic is a wallpaper-like Home screen called Cover Feed, which can be your Facebook feed or a photo of anything. Tapping the home button (which at today’s press conference was depicted as picture of the phone owner) pops up a submenu to apps, core phone functions, and more.

Alerts such as messages or chats from your friends appear as Chat Heads, little face bubbles that that float over your screen while you’re watching a video or reading a news article, for instance. The new twist is that you’ll see more of the message than you do on most phone screens, and you’ll be able to engage in conversation without pausing or leaving an app. For some of us, the most popular feature will be the ability to block or postpone chats by swiping the Chat Head away with a finger.

We’ll provide more details on Facebook Home and HTC’s new Facebook-friendly phone as they become available.

Related: Our video gives you a step-by-step guide on how to set your privacy settings on Facebook.

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