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Facebook announces 'Home' for Android (pictures)

At a press conference today, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announces Home, an Android-based UI that's more fully integrated with the popular social networking site.

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Jessica Dolcourt, Lynn La
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1 of 12 James Martin/CNET

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, unveiled Facebook Home for Android today during a press conference in Menlo Park, Calif. The new UI renders the popular social networking site more integral to Android-based mobile phones, fully immersing users with their Facebook accounts.

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A simplistic visualization of how Facebook Home operates on a user's handset. Zuckerberg stated that his company is not building a new operating system. However, the new experience is a "whole lot deeper than an ordinary app."

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Cover Feed

When you open your Facebook Home-compatible phone, like the HTC First, you'll see photos in your news feed make up the wallpaper. While the overlay cycles through pictures, you can interact with the text, and other features, without disrupting the flow.
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Notifications

Facebook Home supports all sorts of notifications, not just for its own service. You'll also see alerts for missed e-mails, texts, and more.
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Your profile pic

Your own profile picture also makes an appearance at the bottom of the screen.
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Navigating Facebook Home

Facebook uses your profile pic to as a key to simple navigation. Slide the icon to open Facebook's messenger app (which includes text as well as Facebook chat), the app launcher, or to return to the previously-opened app -- in this case, Facebook.
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App tray

Although apps take the back seat with Facebook Home, they're still there. You can open an app launcher that's filled with shortcuts, and swipe left to get to your full list of apps. Swipe vertically to see them all, and long press to start saving them as shortcuts.
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Comments

With Facebook Home, you can comment on content directly.
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Say your piece

Here's a closer look at commenting.
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Chat Heads

Crazily, Facebook named its chat feature "Chat Heads," after the icons of profile pictures that represent your contact. You can initiate Facebook or texting chats through here, and have multiple chats open at once.
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Chat anywhere

Since chat windows float on top of what you're looking at, you can keep one open on any screen. This is handy if you'e having a conversation with someone. When you're done, just flick it down and away.
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Movable chat windows

You can drag a Chat Head icon around if it gets in the way. It'll stick to the sides of your phone screen until you open it, or trash it.

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