Facebook Planning to Introduce Classified-ad Services

Rumor has it that Facebook is testing out a new service that could possibly make Craigslist a history. Two sources from within Facebook have revealed private information about the social media giant planning on a project that would directly compete with Craigslist. It is said that the project is likely to be finished sooner and we can expect the social networking giant announce the feature very soon.

With Facebook classified-ad services, users will be able to create ads for jobs, house rentals, and item sales, which will show up on their friends’ news feeds. However, it is said that this service will only target users based on certain criteria. Advertisers will also be able to add photos, links, or any other related information to their advertisements. In simpler words, whatever you do on Craigslist can be done with Facebook classified-ad service.

Facebook

The service is expected to work very much like Facebook’s promoted posts. For instance, say that you have an apartment and you intend to give it out for rent. Using the new classified-ad service, you can create an ad by paying a nominal fee (less than $5) and your ad will start appearing in your friends’ news feed.

Back in 2007, with only 22 million users, Facebook had launched a similar service called Facebook Marketplace. However, it didn’t grow as expected and eventually Facebook handed it over to another company called Oodle in 2009.

We still haven’t got any confirmation on this, however, it would be great if you can let us know on what you think of classified ads on Facebook by adding your views in the comment section below.

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Facebook Testing New Timeline Layout

Ever since Facebook launched the Timeline, users have been complaining about the complexity and cluttered organization of posts. With that, users have also disliked the permanent switch to the new profile layout. The switch was made as a beneficial factor for Facebook’s advertisers and marketers, ignoring the concerns of its users.

However, looks like the social media giant is about to bring about a change by tweaking the Timeline, making it more of a single-column layout.

According to Inside Facebook, the social media giant seems to be testing a new layout for user Timeline, which “puts all posts in a single column on the left and any activity modules in a narrower column on the right.”

This change will make the entire left column a little wider to house all posts published by the user while the column on the right hand, which will be slightly narrower, will include the active modules. According the test profile shared by Inside Facebook, all the user wall posts appear on the left hand side, while open graph actions such as songs listened to on Spotify and recent activity will be stuck on the right hand side. Everything else — tabs, profile picture, cover image and dates along the right hand side — seem to remain the same.

Here’s how the new layout looks that Facebook is testing:

Facebook New Timeline Layout

Facebook New Timeline Layout

The Next Web reports that they got in touch with a Facebook spokesperson and told that, “This is a new design Facebook is testing with a small percentage of people to make navigating timeline even easier.”

Well, if Facebook had separated wall posts and activity modules, I’m sure many users would have loved the Timeline rather than hating it and finding ways to disable it. Nevertheless, Facebook hopes that this change will enable users to navigate through the Timeline easier and reduce the clutter caused by the current layout.

The Saudi Populace Discovers the Free Speech Capabilities of Twitter

The Arab world is seeing a massive power shift, so much so that there is a specific term for it — the Arab Spring. This geopolitical region has seen a massive uprising, and archaic governments have been overthrown in numerous Arab countries over the last few years. While a large part of this revolution is driven by real-life demonstrations and protests, there is another face of this revolution being held on the Internet via Twitter.

twitter-bird

Twitter is known for its transparency and free speech, and people from the world over are leveraging this powerful platform to voice their opinions and concerns. Saudi Arabia is not untouched by the power of Twitter, and there has been open criticism of the royal family of Saudi Arabia on Twitter recently — something that no one had dared to do in the past.

The New York Times says,

Unlike other media, Twitter has allowed Saudis to cross social boundaries and address delicate subjects collectively and in real time, via shared subject headings like “Saudi Corruption” and “Political Prisoners,” known in Twitter as hashtags. With so many people writing mostly under their real names — there are some 2.9 million users in the kingdom, according to one recent study, and it is the world’s fastest-growing Twitter zone.

Saudi Arabia has its own whistleblower on Twitter, who goes by the name of “Mujtahidd “. This account has leaked numerous incidents of corruption in the country, especially related to the royal family. The Saudi government has tried its level best to restrict free speech by banning numerous topics of conversation in public or print media, but their lack of control over Twitter does not provide for regulatory means that they would like to enjoy, and this makes Twitter their nemesis.

Clearly, Saudi Arabia is geared up for a revolution, and Twitter is playing a decisive role in it.

Facebook Testing Profile Completion Meter Like LinkedIn

If you haven’t completely filled all the information on Facebook, then you will soon see a profile completion percentage bar in the About tab of your profile. Facebook is testing out a new feature that asks user to provide their current city in the info section right under their profile picture, and also displays a profile completion meter.

The Facebook profile completion meter feature was first spotted by Inside Facebook, has shared the following screen shot of the profile completion meter appears:

Facebook Profile Completion Meter

The profile completion meter is placed in the top right corner of the About tab on a user’s profile page/Timeline. This new feature is similar to the profile completion percentages on LinkedIn and Google+. If the meter shows a low percentage, it indicates that you have provided very less information. That is, the more information a user provides, the larger is the percentage.

At this point of time, Facebook does not provide users with any suggestions on which areas to fill in, however, filling in basic details such as birthday, gender, religion, languages, and interests, as well as contact information such as phone numbers and address, will help you increase the profile completion meter.

However, we believe that in the future when Facebook actually releases this feature for all users, it would ask users to fill in specific details or provide guidance on what information to fill in first.

This feature is currently being tested, and there are possibilities that you may never see this feature come into existence. This only happens if Facebook isn’t satisfied with its test results. The only reason why Facebook wants its users to completely fill their profile is advertising. Every bit of user information helps Facebook to target the right audience with right set of advertisements, which basically means more money for Facebook.

Facebook Launches Mobile App Install Ads

With more than a billion active users, Facebook is the undisputed social media champion. However, if there is one weakness in Facebook’s armor, it will have to be mobile. As pundits have pointed out again and again over the past year or so, Facebook’s mobile usage has been growing in leaps and bounds. However, the social networking giant hasn’t managed to monetize mobile particularly well. Today, Facebook is hoping to change that.

A short while back, Facebook rolled out Mobile App Install Ads for iOS and Android. App developers can take advantage of these demographics and interest based targeted ads to increase adoption of their apps. These ads will be integrated with the Facebook mobile app, and when clicked, it will take the user to the iTunes App Store or Google Play store page for the advertised app.

Facebook-Mobile-Ads

Facebook has been testing these ads since August with select developers and Preferred Marketing Developers. TinyCo, one of the chosen partners for the beta testing program, witnessed 50% higher CTRs (Click-through Rates) and significantly higher conversion rates compared to their current mobile channels, as well as a significant increase in player engagement. Nanigans, a Facebook marketing developer, experienced 8-10x the reach compared with its other mobile ad buys.

Facebook Offers Free Talktime to New Indian Users

FacebookWith developed nations like the US and the UK in the bag, the social networking giant Facebook is turning its attention to developing nations like India, where millions of new internet users are being added every year. The social networking giant has announced a new promotion, which is going to give all new users signing up with their mobile phones a Rs. 50 talktime. The same amount of talktime can also be won by referring new users.

Facebook is already pretty big in India, where it overtook Orkut to become the most popular social network in 2010. Since then, its reach has increased steadily. However, India is a country with a population of more than one billion, and an internet penetration of only about 10%. As the country continues to develop, millions of people are being newly introduced to the internet. This represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Facebook, which has hit saturation in several developed nations. The promotion is extremely smart as it offers something that is both relatively easy to distribute and also useful. India has a remarkable mobile penetration, and as Opera’s State of the Mobile Web Report has highlighted time and again, a huge chunk of the population access the web solely through their mobile phones.

However, there is a major caveat with promotions like these. Most Indians have multiple SIMs and a promotion like this might lead to a sudden spurt of fake profiles. If this happens, Facebook might succeed in bolstering its user count, but in the long term it probably won’t gain much. Also, one has to keep in mind that if Facebook is struggling to monetize eyeballs from countries like the US, Canada, and the UK, it’s going to be significantly tougher to monetize eyeballs from countries like India.

In order to avail this promotion, go to m.facebook.com/tt and register with your mobile number.

Linkedin Unveils New Profile Design Making It Easier to Engage and Connect Better

In a live event in Mountain View called “Meet The New LinkedIn”, the company discussed its directions and announced some new features for its site. CEO Jeff Weiner discussed the history of LinkedIn, how it is being used today, and how it serves as a social networking site for professionals, with integrations of several social features.

Along with that, Jeff Weiner also announced and unveiled a new design for the site, making LinkedIn even more easy to use for users to edit their profile and connect with colleagues and friends in their professional network.

Before we get into a detailed review of the new design, here are some interesting stats that Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior VP of products and user experience, shared about the growth of LinkedIn since January 2009:

  • Membership has grown from 32 million to 175 million users
  • Monthly unique visitors has grown from 12 million to 135 million
  • Use of mobile apps has increased from 10 percent to 23 percent

The new LinkedIn profile design is interactive and graphic oriented, which is quite easier for a user to make a powerful first impression and showcase the skills and accomplishments in a better way. In the top section, you’ll notice a new “Improve Your Profile” button, which is a replacement for the text messages you see like, “Hey, add your college”, etc.

Additionally, the new visual design shows you insights about the people and companies in your network. These insights help the user to expand their network by discovering new people outside their network and quickly establish common ground to make more meaningful connections.

The new layout has a right sidebar, showcasing some stats about the user like the “People You May Know” feature. The “Profile Strength” is graphically represented showcasing how well he/she is connected with other people.

To promote engagement and interactions with a user’s network, LinkedIn has now added the ‘your recent activity’ to the top of all profiles, which enables you to stay updated with what’s going on within your connections.

Here’s what it looks like when you visit someone else’s profile:

LinkedIn New Profile Design

If you’re very excited about the new LinkedIn design and want to be the first in your connections to get the new design, you can request for an invite here. However, these profile pages will be rolled out over the next few months, according to the company.

Facebook Expands Antivirus Marketplace to Mobile Along with Seven New Partners

Earlier in April this year, Facebook, in an attempt to increase the existing level of protection for its huge user base, introduced the Antivirus Marketplace app to keep them safe and away from possible threats and malware attacks, and help share virus free content throughout the Facebook network. This offered free downloads and six-month licenses of security software from Microsoft, McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos, and Symantec.

Nearly six months after the launch, the social networking giant has announced today that it is offering free antivirus software downloads for mobile users also, as Facebook has reportedly grown its mobile users to 543 million in June, 2012.

Along with the expansion of the Antivirus Marketplace to mobile users, Facebook has announced seven new partners including Avast, AVG, Avira, Kaspersky Lab, Panda, Total Defense, and Webroot.

According to Facebook, nearly 30 million users have visited the AV Marketplace since its launch almost six months ago. Facebook is continuing its effort to make the social networking site a safer place to share and connect with friends.

In a post on its Facebook Security page, Facebook stated:

Our new anti-virus partners bring with them both the latest software and comprehensive intelligence. As with our existing partners, these eight companies will help protect Facebook’s community of more than 1 billion users by improving our URL blacklist system. This system scans trillions of clicks per day, and before each click, the system consults the databases of all our AV Marketplace partners to make sure the website you are about to visit is safe. This means that whenever you click a link on our site, you are protected both by Facebook and 13 of the industry leaders in computer security. We will be cooperating with these partners more in the future, and look forward to announcing new tools soon.

Fcebook Mobile Anitvirus Marketplace

With the new additions to Antivirus Marketplace app along with the expansion to mobile devices, it not only allows the users to download the free trials of the anti-virus software, but also helps Facebook to augment its blacklist database.

In August, Facebook announced the launch of [email protected], with which users can report any phishing or malicious links they have received from their friends, or unknown sources. This would enable the Facebook to investigate and request for browser blacklisting.

Facebook Testing New Navigation Bar Layout

We have always seen Facebook testing out new features and design changes, and eventually implementing them on the site to make it default across the network regardless of whether users like it or not. Recently, a new change in the Facebook navigation bar (the top blue bar) was noticed by Art Director, Jeremy Carson, with the search box pushed close to the Facebook logo, and the icons for messages, notifications and friend request were pushed to the right-hand side, next to the profile image.

Earlier today, Inside Facebook posted the following screenshot of the top navigation bar shared by Jeremy:

Facebook Testing a Navigation Bar Layout

You also notice that the current “Home” button on the right-side has been removed, which means that users have only one way to go back to the homepage and that is by clicking on the Facebook logo on the left.

Current navigation bar:

Facebook Testing a Navigation Bar Layout

TechCrunch suggests that “Facebook wants to put more focus on the right-hand side of the site, which is the place that houses birthdays, engagement or marriage updates, gifts, and of course, advertising”

Many users have already found the new navigation bar very similar to that of Google Plus navigation bar, with notification and profile option positioned on the right-hand side.

Recently, Facebook announced “Sponsored Results” search ads, and also increased the size of the search bar with an introduced to “top hit” result in the typeahead in August. Back in July, Facebook was testing the “search the Web” feature, but released it as “Search for people, places, and things,” to the search box in June.

A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the tests to The Next Web stating, “This is just a test, we have nothing more to share at this time.”

Native Facebook App for Android in Final Testing Phase

It has been a disastrous year for Facebook, and it certainly hasn’t found any luck at all. As Facebook stock continues to disappoint and hurt its investors, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying his best to set things right for the company.

With the recent milestone of over one billion members on Facebook, Zuckerberg has got his attention towards mobile users, and is planning to take a huge advantage of it. Facebook in its second quarter 2012 highlighted that the site had over 543 million mobile MAUs (as of June 30, 2012), an increase of 67% year-over-year.

Last month, during the TechCrunch Disrupt, when Arrington enquired about mobile web, Zuckerberg stated that, “the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native.”

The fact remains that the current HTML5 based Android Facebook app stinks big time. According to an anonymous tipster at Engadget, it is now known that Facebook is scrapping the current HTML5 based app and will release a new native Android version of the application.

Also Read: Facebook for Android is Still Unstable; Zuckerberg Forcing Employees To Use Android Phones

Facebook Android App

The new native Facebook app for Android is currently in its final phase of testing, and the initial release of the app can take around two weeks’ time. That is, we can expect the app to be released by the end of this month at the latest.

The current HTML5 app is considerably slow and lacks user-friendly features. The number of Android users who use Facebook on a daily basis is hard to imagine (relatively large). At the moment, Android users can only be excited and talk about a new and better dedicated app. Just like the faster iOS Facebook app, the new Facebook app for Android will be developed in native code, which should result in a smoother, faster user-friendly experience, and yes, less crashing.

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