Facebook’s new “Home” software for Android phones could “destroy” privacy warn industry watchers and analysts.
But the detailed data that could be mined from Home users could intrude on private life, commentators warned.
Many took issue with the claim that Home put people, not apps, at the heart of the mobile experience, saying it would help Facebook sell ads.
Home was shown off in a presentation given at Facebook’s campus by the social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg. He said it was an attempt to do away with app-centred systems that were a legacy of the computer world in which people clicked on an icon to start a program.
Once installed on a phone, Home takes over the lock screen and main display turning it into a live feed of information, notifications and images Facebook users are sharing.
The “always on” nature of Home bothered industry watcher Om Malik from tech news website GigaOm who said it could be a route to gathering data about users that would otherwise be hard to find.
“This application erodes any idea of privacy,” he wrote. “If you install this, then it is very likely that Facebook is going to be able to track your every move, and every little action.”
Users of Home could see their privacy “destroyed”, he warned.
“For the vast majority of people, Facebook just isn’t the be-all and end-all of their mobile experience,” he said. “It’s just one part.”
“I see a more apathetic response among Facebook users than Facebook might be expecting,” he added.
That presents the biggest obstacle to success for this experiment- Facebook’s objectives and users’ are once again in conflict. Users don’t want more advertising or tracking, and Facebook wants to do more of both.
So be cautious before installing more tracking software on your Android phone.