Mark Zuckerberg: The great thing about Android is that it’s so open (unlike iOS)

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Facebook Home is in the house, and it’s taking over Android. But what about Apple’s iOS?

“The home screen is really the soul of your phone,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today in his unveiling of the massive new Facebook Home environment for Android. “We’re building something that’s a lot deeper than just a normal app,” he also said.

Facebook Home will take over an Android phone at a very deep level: Home screen, lock screen, notifications, app locations, and app launching are just some of the things Facebook Home will change.

Can you imagine that level of integration on an iPhone?

“We have a great relationship with Apple,” Zuckerberg said. “But anything that happens with Apple will happen through partnership with them.”

google-voice-iphone-app1In other words, no.

Android is very open, Zuckerberg said — so open that apps can send SMS messages, make and receive phone calls, and be your keyboard. Apple’s iOS, in contrast, is much more closed: Apple limits what apps can do in the name of user interface consistency, usability, and, some say, limiting competition. For instance, alternate browsers on iOS must use Apple’s rendering engine, which blocks browsers like Firefox.

Google is aware of what Facebook is doing, Zuckerberg said today, but Facebook is not working directly with them to build the Facebook Home experience. Facebook doesn’t have to, because Android is open source and open territory for apps of almost all kinds.

“Android was designed from the ground up to support this kind of openness,” Zuckerberg says.

Which probably doesn’t make Google feel any better about having their mobile operating system hijacked by a Facebook skin. Even if publicly, it’s all sweetness and light.