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Facebook to fix Home after user complaints

04.16.13_technewsrprt_img_stories_regina-timothy_facebook-home

After being introduced with much fanfare a few weeks ago, Facebook Home has so far not lived to its expectations.

The app, created mainly for android phones has a two-star rating in the Google Play store. To make matters worse, the HTC phone that was the first to come preloaded with the Home software recently slashed from $99 with a two-year contract to 99 cents in the U.S.

The unanimous verdict by all those who reviewed the app on Google store is that while the app is a great idea, it still has a long way to go.

Well, on Thursday Facebook previewed some upgrades to its Home app at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The upgrades were designed to address the chief complaint from users: that Facebook takes over the phone at the expense of every other app on it.

Facebook’s director of mobile engineering, Cory Ondrejka acknowledged that users have complained that Facebook Home makes their apps hard to find. So it plans to create folders of apps within the launcher. Facebook will also add a dock at the bottom of the home screen to give quick access to key apps such as email and maps.

Facebook’s director of product, Adam Mosseri, said Chat Heads -– little bubble pictures of friends -– have proved popular but users have complained it’s tough to initiate a conversation. He showed off a new feature that will let users more easily access a buddy list from Home.

No word yet on when Home will be available on more smartphones. Mosseri did discourage the practice of installing a hacked version of Home on unsupported Android smartphones. He estimated that more than 10,000 people had done that so far.

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