Facebook Home: Not Just for Facebook Anymore

Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Flickr get the lock screen treatment.

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For when one network is not enough, Facebook is adding four more social networks to Facebook Home.

If you have a supported Android phone, you can now set your lock screen to show updates from Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr and, of course, Facebook. You can also mark posts you like with a star or a heart without even unlocking your phone.

Facebook Home began its existence in April as a complete replacement for the home screen and lock screen on Android phones. It required users to install a separate app, and replaced users’ app launcher and widgets with a simpler menu designed by Facebook. This approach wasn’t very popular, and the only phone to launch with Home pre-installed, HTC’s First, was a flop.

In August, Facebook made Home’s lock screen an optional feature within the main Facebook app. It’s actually more useful this way, because it doesn’t override the entire Android experience.

The new social networks are another welcome change, especially the photo-driven Instagram. (One thing I noticed about Home’s lock screen feature before: it was far too easy to come across bland status updates instead of photos.) Twitter integration would be nice, but I wouldn’t count on that to happen, given the rivalry between the two networks.

At the moment, you must be using the Facebook for Android beta to set up the additional networks. Follow the instructions at this link to get on board.

Once you have the Facebook beta installed, there are a couple more hoops to jump through: Go into the app, scroll down to “app settings” in the left sidebar, and check “Use as Lock Screen” near the bottom of the page. You should get to a “Connect Apps to Home” page, where you can sign in to the networks of your choice. Then, just sit back, relax and enjoy the cat, baby and food photos.