Facebook has made some pretty significant changes to the news feed. Mark Tonkelowitz, Engineering Manager at Facebook, detailed the changes on the Facebook Blog yesterday. These changes come only one week after Facebook announced improved friend list capabilities. In a nutshell, all of these changes are an attempt by Facebook to show the news and updates, they think the users, want to see.
The first major change is the addition of “Top Stories” to the news feed. If it has been a while between visits, Facebook will show the top photos and statuses that were posted while you were gone. Facebook compares this feature to a newspaper. Instead of everything being in chronological order, a newspaper shows you the most important news first. Below you will see a picture of how the “Top Stories” will appear in your news feed. Notice the blue corner denoting a “Top Story”.
If you frequent Facebook more often, you will see the more recent stories first. You will also notice in the picture below, pictures will be displayed larger in the feed.
The second major change is the addition of the “Ticker”. The “Ticker” is a real time feed that will be located in the top right corner of the screen, just above the chat section. Below, you will see an example of how the “Ticker” will look. When you see something that interests you in the “Ticker” feed, click on it to see the full story. The neat thing about this feature is that you can respond to updates in real time without having to navigate away from the main news page.
It is yet to be seen whether these new features will be embraced as improvements, or just another annoying change. There are already a lot of varied opinions posted in response to this blog post. Facebook is banking a lot on its ability to provide its users with the news they want. This seems like a pretty tall order. The big question is will they be able to come up with some algorithm that can figure out what news is important to a person?
What do you think? Do you see these changes as an improvement? I would be interested in hearing your take on the features.