5 April 2013
The first mobile-phone call was made 40 years ago this week, by a Motorola engineer roaming the streets of New York. Phones have made amazing advances since then: I for one would be lost without Google Maps, literally and all the time. Having something called a “smartphone” makes me feel… well, smart. (Non-smartphones are known in the industry as “feature phones”.) And now the latest exciting evolution of the phone has just been announced: Facebook Home. Premiered on a new phone, the HTC First, it’s a forthcoming Android app that replaces your “home screen” with direct Facebook access. Wake up your phone and your Facebook news feed is right there. OMG, “Like”! Right?
Facebook promises that this will result in a “great, living, social phone”, which gives me alarming mental images of something alive wriggling around in my pocket, connected directly to Mark Zuckerberg’s brain. The instantly available news feed is apparently “for those in-between moments like waiting in line at the grocery store or between classes when you want to see what’s going on in your world”, which oddly implies that “your world” is not what is actually going on around you – which you could, after all, see by simply staring at it rather than fumbling for your phone. No, “your world” is Facebook’s world. Welcome to it!