Facebook Home panned by some early users

Facebook’s new Home launcher for Android phones isn’t getting a lot of love in some circles, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a whirl.

The social networking behemoth released the offering Friday, but early users so far are giving it significantly more one-star ratings on Google Play than five-star ratings.

Usually, when an app is panned by users it’s a sure sign that something is amiss — either it’s poorly designed or offering little functionality unless you ante up for in-app purchases. That doesn’t appear to be the case here. The disenchanted seem to dislike the fact that Facebook Home “takes over” your phone and makes doing non-Facebook things more difficult.

Well, yeah. That’s kind of the point.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Home on April 4, he said he wants Facebook to be an extension of your life, something you don’t even think about — a giant Facebook News Feed that brings your friends to the forefront of your smartphone. Their lives are the first thing you see when you glance at your home screen.

Not everybody wants that.

I certainly don’t, considering I’m a light Facebook user at best and prefer Google+, a network replete with tech-savvy users who regularly post commentary that’s relevant to what’s going on in the world.

But for people who check Facebook dozens of times a day and can’t get enough of the social network akin to a never-ending high school reunion, Home is the ticket.

In fact, TechHive’s Caitlin McGarry reviewed Facebook Home and called it “ a social butterfly’s dream,” although it should be noted she played around with it on the only phone designed with Home out of the box, the new HTC First, which offers a slightly different experience than using Facebook Home on another Android device.

Some users testing Home on devices like theSamsung Galaxy SIII or the HTC Evo say they love the app, especially the Chat Heads, which are bubbles that include your friends’ profile photos and appear to the right side of Facebook messages. Facebook Home lets you tap on a Chat Head to read the message and respond, or flick it to the bottom of the screen to throw it away.

So should you try Facebook Home?

If you love Facebook and own an Android phone, why not? If you find yourself not liking it, you can always uninstall the free app.

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