Facebook reinvented itself again at a live event in Menlo Park, California on Thursday, where it announced “a new look for news feeds.” Perhaps having learned from earlier rollouts, which seemed to freak out Facebook habitues with the suddenness of the changes and occasionally privacy implications, Facebook adopted a “velvet rope” stance, in these early days at least: If you want the new version, you can join a waiting list.
It all starts rolling out today, beginning with the waiting list people. When I joined just now, Facebook told me three of my friends already had it. At last, the mobile apps and the website will have the same look and features, which means you will no longer have to use a full-on computer in order to edit your comments, and do other formerly computer-only stuff. The iOS versions will roll out “in a few weeks,” with Android to follow.
Sharing: If a lot of your friends share the same thing, like a band interview or a YouTube song, it’ll pop into your main feed, prominently. To see what each of your friends said when they shared it, you can hover your mouse pointer over their name.
Official Band News: If you Like an artist page, their updates will appear in your feed. As with the sharing feature, this seems to be something Facebook already does, so maybe Zuckerberg and company are just trying to make it more obvious. To see all your artist, brand, and celebrity news in one place, you can check the new Following feed (more on that below)
Music Feed: You’ll access it like this:
You’ll be able to see what all of your friends have been listening to, in one place (here’s another). This might seem familiar, but before the switch, the only specialized feeds are Messages, Events, and Photos.
Music, Games, Groups, All Friends, and Following (for tracking people who aren’t your friends) are new. You no longer have to go to someone’s profile page to see what music they’ve been listening to on Facebook-Connected music services.
All Friends: The new All Friends feed is of particular interest. You know how everyone’s been complaining about how Facebook doesn’t let people see all of the messages from their friends unless all of their friends pay Facebook to promote their posts? Now, by clicking the All Friends feed, you can see everything that all of your people have posted, regardless of what Facebook’s algorithms decide to show you elsewhere.
Events Feed: To see what Facebook-listed shows to which you have been invited, which Facebook suggests for you, or to which your friends have RSVP-ed to, you can check out the Events feed. Facebook already has these; yours is here. However, the new one will be prettier and more prominent, from what we can tell.
Huge photos and video previews: When your friends post photos or videos, the preview images will be humongous, in response to Facebook’s finding that 50 percent of stuff people share is photos. Music videos and band photos will leap out at you with more vigor. You’ll also see little pictures of the people who shared them:
Here’s Facebook’s video introducing the new features, plus some more screenshots: