When Facebook rounds 3rd base for a home run On April 12th -- with it's new Android app called "Home" -- one has to wonder if Google missed a golden opportunity? With a stock uptick of 3% as a result of this announcement, the new FB app is boasting its functionality to turn any compatible Android phone into a socially-smart Facebook phone.
Facebook Home opens up a new realm of mobile multitasking for Android users and a fresh new monetization scheme for Zuckerberg et al. Home will allow Facebook to run atop other apps instead of forcing a smartphone user to exit out of a browser or other application in order to message a Facebook friend.
Layering Facebook content on the most prevalent 'face' of a smartphone is definitely a game-changer and could become a virtual cash cow for the world largest social network, who will in turn sell ads on this lucrative piece of real estate.
So why did Google drop the ball, when their own social network, G+ could have easily taken the lead in this space?
"Google should be very worried," Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdhry noted in an email Thursday, later adding "Google is going to lose mobile monetization to Facebook because if Home is the first interaction that a user makes, then that is where the maximum monetization occurs."
Andy Rubin"Google missed a huge opportunity in social mobile phones, no wonder Andy Rubin was fired," said Chowdhry. Mr. Rubin was the inventor of Google's Android smartphone operating system, but was abruptly dismissed into (as Sundar Pichainoted in a blog post) 'stepping aside for Sundar Pichai,' just 3 days prior to FB's Home announcement.
When Zuckerberg was asked pointed questions in this regard, he told Fortune magazine in a one-on-one interview that he had no idea how Google was responding to FB's preemptive move. Instead he praised the company for its "openness,' specifically drawing a distinction with the more closed environment of Apple.
In Chowdhry's report, he indicated that the Google Android's licensing structure "indicated a fundamental business model flaw. . . and Google should have shown a better business sense when allowing use of Android."
"Google should have put a clause in place to make sure that applications from Google should always be in any Android Distribution, which is also called default applications...just like Apple does in its iOS." added Chowdhry.
So, while perhaps not a Grand Slam, Facebook looks like it presently leads in the Social Mobile ballgame in the early innings. And while I'm sure this is way before the 7th-inning stretch, allotting the Grand Daddy of search engines some time recoup --- it's a bit surprising that Zuckerberg's was able to capture the early lead due to a major error.
UPDATE: April 6 - YouTube - In an unprecedented move, Facebook invested in TV commercials to help sell their Facebook HOME phones and apps in advance of their April 12th free download" launch.