Facebook Brings A Taste Of Home To iOS App
April 16, 2013

Facebook Brings A Taste Of Home To iOS App

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

The rumor du jour yesterday claimed Facebook was in talks with Apple to bring Facebook Home to iOS.

Facebook Home acts largely as a wrapper for Android phones to bring the Facebook experience to the lock screen, home screen, and other points all over the phone. Since the only iteration of Home requires so many permissions and so much cooperation, it seemed unlikely Apple would ever allow any company so much access to their walled garden.

Today it looks like part of that rumor may have been true. Facebook has just rolled out an update to their iOS app that brings one element of Facebook Home -- Chat Heads -- to the app.

Chat Heads are one of the cooler aspects to Facebook Home for Android. When chatting with a friend (either through Facebook Messenger of SMS) a small, round version of that person´s profile picture hovers on screen. This icon remains on top of every screen, giving Facebook Home users the ability to jump right back into the conversation at any time, rather than having to double tap or swipe down on something. If this user is carrying on several conversations, several Chat Heads will appear on the screen. You can even lump them together to form a group chat or flick them away to close the conversation.

During the opening of the Wall Street Journal´s D: Dive Into Mobile conference, Facebook´s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer and head of mobile Cory Ondrejka announced the company would be bringing Chat Heads to the iOS version of the Facebook app.

This won´t change the way your Messages app works, but it will allow iPhone users the opportunity to check out an Android-only feature once inside the Facebook app.

The Chat Heads will disappear when you leave the Facebook app, but if you spend a lot of time in Facebook, these little icons can help you keep track of your conversations while liking pictures and reading stories.

The newest update of the app also brings “stickers” to the messages portion of the app. These stickers are large and colorful emojis that can be sent within the messages apps, you know, for fun.

Facebook is also rolling out an update to their iPad app that is meant to bring some of the News Feed changes announced in March to the Apple tablet.

This newly organized News Feed is meant to be every user´s “personalized newspaper,” recapping all the stories involving their friends and the businesses they follow. Stories and photos have grown to capture more attention and encourage users to spend more time on the site. The latest iPad update should be made available today.

When Zuckerberg announced Facebook Home earlier this month, he mentioned having a “great relationship” with Apple and recalled their integration with iOS 6 as an example of their partnership. Yet even as rumors began to fly yesterday about a version of Facebook Home for iOS, the story seemed hard to believe. Even the source that spoke to Bloomberg (the source of the rumors) seemed unsure about the possibilities of bringing Home to Apple.

“It may or may not be Home,” said Adam Mosseri, product director at Facebook in an interview with Bloomberg.

“We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it´s not called Home, it´s called something else.”

For now, it seems the closest thing iPad and iPhone users will get to Home is Chat Heads.