We’ve been quiet for a while on the future of Flow Home as we tried to figure out a path forward for the app. The original idea was to aggregate a bunch of fun, useful things onto the most important screen on your phone. It felt crazy to us that people mainly used that screen for a grid of static icons. However, we ran into two main problems:
- Our most important APIs shut down: Facebook and Instagram. Twitter’s API is also limited in ways that are about to become a major problem as well. A few years ago it used to be that every social network courted developers and hoped apps would integrate with them. However, that appears to have given way to an anti-API phase of the Internet where services put up walls around their content. That makes apps that aggregate content nearly impossible to do.
- We weren’t seeing enough people sticking with the app. Hundreds of thousands of people tried out the app, but not enough of them stuck with it and made it their permanent home screen. So even though the idea seemed exciting to us and lots of people tried it, we didn’t seem to be successful in making something people wanted to switch to long term.
Because of these problems it doesn’t make sense for us to continue development on it at this time. That being said, we’ve put a ton of work into this app and there are a lot of people still interested in it, so we’ve come up with the following plan:
- We will work on one more update to the app to fix some of the current bugs. That includes the swipe away and weather problems. We will also remove the non-functioning services. After a beta period we will release that to the store so every current user can get the update, but eventually we will remove the app from the store and archive the most recent APK for download on our website.
- We will look into open sourcing the best parts of the app. We will probably focus on the scrolling and animation system as those seem to be people’s favorite parts of the app. The feed retrieval system is less useful because of the API limitations we faced, but we’ll take a look at that too.
It’s obviously really disappointing for us to have to do this. We are a really small team so the level of support everyone has shown us has been amazing, we really appreciate it.