Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, today said that Facebook is working on a new version of the Home lockscreen that will feature Instagram and third-party social content, based on requests from users of the service. The comments came today as he also admitted that Facebook’s Home Android launcher has been “rolling out slower” than he would have hoped.
Speaking today at TC Disrupt, Zuckerberg also said that while Facebook took gradual steps with Home, offering it through the Google Play store, at some point it will also start promoting it directly through Facebook.
“We will prompt people at Facebook,” he said, “You won’t have to go to the app store to get it. It’s not super far off.”
Right now on the Google Play store, the number of installs of the Facebook Home app is noted as between 1 million and 5 million. After its first month of life, the app had seen only around 1 million downloads amid waning interest from carriers like AT&T, which had signed up early to sell HTC handsets with Home preloaded on it. Meanwhile, Orange in Europe axed its rollout before it even started.
In answer to a question from interviewer Michael Arrington about whether he saw Home as a failure, Zuckerberg noted that among the positives, people “love Chatheads.”
The moves indicate that while Facebook may not have seen the early jump on the service that it wanted, it’s not going to be retreating soon. “I fully believe that [Facebook Home] is something that people will want over time,” Zuckerberg said.
That’s a sign of how important Facebook sees mobile and a deepening role for itself in that wider mobile experience. This ties directly into the company’s wider revenue ambitions and the part mobile is playing in that. As of last quarter (Q2), Facebook had 699 mobile users and 1.1 billion overall monthly active users, Zuckerberg said today, and within that mobile is playing a growing role in terms of advertising revenues. eMarketer in August estimated that Facebook this year will account for nearly 16% of global mobile ad revenue this year, growing by over 10 percentage points over last year.
Adding Instagram into the Home lockscreen is also a sign of how Facebook is continuing to further integrate its mobile-first acquisition, while adding third party apps gives Facebook another window into positioning itself as the launching pad for how people interact with the wider web.