Facebook touts Home's benefits for developers

The social-networking giant says its new product will make it easier for users to discover apps, as well as help developers reengage with existing users.

Facebook unveiled its Home family of apps during an event today in Menlo Park, Calif. James Martin/CNET
Facebook launched Home to put a user's friends at the center of the phone. But for developers, it means a new way to help people discover their apps and reengage with existing users, the company said.

Facebook today launched Home, a family of apps and a skin that runs over Android. The company said users will be able to download the user interface in the Google Play store, and that links would be found in its Facebook and messenger apps. Facebook said that there would be monthly updates to add features and broader availability, and it also will expand the product to tablets.

Facebook noted in a blog post that several new features of Home will be positive for developers. That includes "cover feed," which allows people to immediately access app content from their News Feed once they turn on their phone. Facebook also is making it easier for people to engage with app content by allowing them to simply double tap to like a post and comment right from cover feed. In addition, at launch, Open Graph stories with user-generated photos will be supported in cover feed, Facebook said.

Along with cover feed, notifications will be bigger and bolder and will be right on the phone home screen. Facebook said it has made improvements to notifications to make them "more engaging" and easier to interact with.

"It's never been easier to reengage with people using your app," Jenny Yuen of Facebook said in a blog.

In addition, "Chat heads" are set up in a way that allows people to receive and respond to messages without ever having to leave an app. And Home's app launcher makes it easy for people to get to apps quickly. Users are able to choose which apps are on their launcher.

"This release is a first step and we'll continue to improve Home -- including enabling support for additional Open Graph story types," Yuen said.

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