Facebook facelift feeds mobile appetite
- Heavy focus on mobile
- More visual, bigger pictures
- More types of feeds available
Facebook has introduced a visually richer, mobile device-oriented News Feed, in the most significant changes to date for the social network's most recognisable feature.
The changes to the News Feed, whose look and feel has remained largely unchanged since its inception, include a division into several sections, with separate areas for photos and music. They will begin rolling out in limited fashion from Friday.
Redesign: The new Facebook newsfeed.
The overhaul, which standardises the feed across mobile devices and desktop computers, is designed to keep users active and interacting as well as appeal to advertisers, as Facebook battles Google for internet market share.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had singled out the feature as in need of a makeover as recently as January, when the company introduced Graph Search to address inadequacies in allowing users to trawl for information across the world's largest social network.
Facebook's News Feed, an ever-changing stream of photos, videos and comments uploaded from friends, is the first page most users see upon logging in. It is one of three "pillars" of the service, along with search and user profiles.
New look: The new Facebook newsfeed.
The last major update to the feature occurred in September 2011. Since then, the company has incorporated ads directly into the feed and has shifted its focus to creating "mobile-first experiences", because more people now access the social network from smartphones and tablets than from desktop computers.
The addition of advertising, however, prompted complaints from users who preferred an unblemished stream of personally relevant comments, underscoring the difficulty in balancing advertiser-friendly formats – such as larger images – with keeping its 1 billion-plus members engaged.
The focus of the new Facebook News Feed is much more visual. Photos are now front and centre – they take up about 50 per cent of news feed stories and are much larger than before.
The News Feed now offers users more types of feeds and greater control over how those feeds are displayed. You can subscribe to feeds such as all friends, close friends, music, photos and games.
There is also a chronological view to see things in the order they occur. It is not yet clear how advertising and "promoted" content will fit into these new feeds and views.
Borrowing heavily from Facebook's mobile apps, the new design features a navigation bar on the left-hand side and more white space, following the trend towards consistency across mobile and desktop platforms.
To sign up for the new look News Feed (presumably before it is eventually rolled out to everyone) visit facebook.com/about/News Feed and click on "join waiting list" at the bottom of the page.
Facebook v Google
Facebook and Google, which both got their start on desktop computers, are now managing a transition of their products onto smartphones and tablets, which typically yield less revenue than on PCs.
The two internet mainstays are also waging a war for revenue in mobile advertising – a market that is still small compared with the traditional desktop but that is growing exponentially.
In terms of overall mobile advertising, Google commanded a 53.5 per cent share in 2012, aided by its dominance in search-based ads. Facebook had just 8.4 per cent, a distant runner-up, according to estimates from research house eMarketer.
But in terms of mobile display ad sales, Facebook narrowly edges out its rival with 18.4 per cent of the market versus Google's 17 per cent, the research outfit estimated.
Facebook is moving to regain Wall Street's confidence after a botched IPO last year, addressing concerns about its long-term prospects.
The social network's shares, which are still more than a quarter off their IPO price of $US38, closed 4.1 per cent higher at $US28.58 on the Nasdaq.
What do you think of Facebook's new look News Feed? Let us know in the comments.
Poll: Do you like the redesigned Facebook newsfeed?
- Yes - it was time for a change
- No - I wish they would stop changing it
Total votes: 1047.
You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.
These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.