Facebook’s new Home Android launcher has passed the 500,000 download mark on the Google Play store after a little over a week in the wild, though it continues to accumulate mostly negative reviews and has sunk to an average rating of 2.2.
The milestone was noted by Benedict Evans on Twitter.
Facebook first released the software in the US on April 12 before rolling it out to international users on the 16th. 500,000 downloads is a modest start for Facebook, which has a global user base of over a billion, but the app’s audience is limited since only a few Android devices are supported at this time. By comparison, the main Facebook app on Android has between 100 million and 500 million downloads.
For all of the hand-wringing and negativity swirling around Facebook Home, 500,000 strikes me as a rather positive start.
Although reviews appear to be startlingly negative, Home — as with virtually all Facebook products — was never going to charm everyone in its initial moments. It's a polarizing, privacy-broaching product that is bound to make some people uncomfortable.
(Incidentally, for context, Facebook for iOS — an app largely applauded for its improved design and functionality — shares in a two-star rating.)
Nevertheless, with 500,000 installs, Facebook has proven that it can and will fight for a foothold within Google's ecosystem. And with bug fixes and a quick iteration cycle promised for the product, I can't help but feel that these download statistics will continue at a relatively healthy pace. (Of course, downloads do not equate to usage, but they're certainly not completely unrelated.)
Based upon Myke Hurley's experiences, I continue to feel optimistic for the future of Facebook Home. Moreover, I feel that, with these download statistics, further credibility has been leant toward the development of compelling visual front-ends for Android, rather than altogether forking the O.S.
Perhaps Home has not yet lived up to all of its expectations, but I'd argue it's made a fairly positive start. I continue to watch with great interest.