Facebook announced on Thursday its "chat heads" feature will open up a new way to communicate with friends, regardless of what you're doing on your Android phone at the time.
As a part of its new Facebook Home interface on Android-powered smartphones and eventually tablets, the company introduced functionality called chat heads, allowing you to instantly message with friends, no matter what app you're already in (from checking email and playing games to browsing the web).
A floating picture of a friend's head appears on the screen — their Facebook profile image — and can be dragged via your finger to anywhere on the screen. You can tap it to open a message window, and more than one chat head can be on screen at one time.
"It makes you feel like your friends are always there," said Joey Flynn of Facebook. "You can carry on multiple conversations with the people you care about, and you can tap back to switch."
"We wanted to focus on the experience, as it doesn't matter what app you use or technology, just as long as your friends are there," Flynn added.
Chat heads is part of the company's Facebook Home platform for Android, which aims to put people first instead of apps.
"You're going to be able to turn your Android phone into a great social device," Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. "Our phones today are designed around apps, not people. We want to flip that around."
Facebook Home will be available for download starting April 12. It will also come pre-loaded on the new HTC First smartphone.