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Facebook Hijacks Google's Android

Stocks in this article: FB GOOG AMZN AAPL

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- While most of those looking at Google's (GOOG) mobile challenges focused on Samsung and (AMZN), which are forking Google's Android operating system to siphon revenue from the Web site, a greater threat was rising from Facebook (FB).

Facebook Home hijacks Google's Android, despite the happy talk from CEO Mark Zuckerberg about how open Google is. Facebook Home does this by putting a Facebook news stream on the lock screen, running it as soon as you turn on the phone. The happy talk hid the device maker who would never allow such a thing, and who must not be named. ( Apple (AAPL))

It's not a Facebook operating system, and it's not a fork of Android. It's a family of apps that hijacks any Android phone and makes it Facebook-centric.

Coverfeeds controls the lock screen with your Facebook feed. There's a Chatheads app to make text messaging easier. And there's an AppLauncher to let you create a subset of apps that launch within a separate screen.

If you really like Facebook, you'll really like Home. You might even want to run off to your local AT&T store and buy an HTC First phone, right now, for just $99.99 (with a service contract) available in a week. Or you can download the software from Google Play. If you already have Facebook's Android app, you'll be invited to upgrade soon.

A report on mobile-phone use from market researcher Flurry Analytics shows that apps, not browsers, are how mobile users access the Internet, and that Facebook is becoming a dominant app.

Apps get 80% of mobile online use, the study said, while browsers get only 20%. Facebook's app gets 18% of total online use, and games get another 32%. Savvy readers will note that Facebook is increasingly a games network.

Concludes Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf: "Facebook has become the most adopted browser in terms of consumer time spent."

So while Google gets more than half the mobile ad spend, according to eMarketer figures, Facebook is catching up fast, and could bring in $964 million this year alone.

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