Facebook Home arrives in Google Play store

The software suite gives select Android handset owners access to Cover Feed, Chat Heads, and more.

Josh Miller/CNET
Facebook attempts to put people before apps with today's release of Facebook Home, a family of applications that recreates popular social-networking functions such as chat and News Feed and embeds them within the home screen experience on select Android devices. The software suite is now live in the Google Play store.

Excluding the HTC First , which is optimized to run Facebook Home, the software package is currently compatible with six devices: the HTC One, One X, and One X+; and the Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note 2.

To get Home working on these handsets, you'll need to also be running the most recent versions of Facebook's standard Android mobile application and Facebook Messenger for Android.

Facebook Home is either just the right amount of Facebook or extreme bloatware , depending on your social-networking preferences.

In my view , Facebook has done a marvelous job of transforming your home screen with Cover Feed, a visually arresting slideshow that pares down News Feed to just photos and "likes." The Home software, however, forces you to split your attention between Facebook and Google, and will likely never appeal to those who don't trust the social network with access to their smartphones.

Update, 1:50 p.m. PT: Early reviews from downloaders are rather abysmal. So far, more than 700 reviewers have given Facebook Home an average of 2.3 stars out of five.

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