As a student, I spend at least an hour a day on Facebook. The addictive feed of recent friends activity on the front page is updated every few minutes and I find myself checking back when I should be studying or working on other important things.
Last night Facebook rolled out a major update with the goal of making their service simpler, more flexible, and to make their network structure more relevant. Facebook’s blog summarizes the new features quite well:
1. A navigation and profile simplification—Ever feel like you couldn’t find what you were looking for on that long left menu? We’ve redistributed all these menu options into “Core Aspects” on the top menu, “Applications” on the left menu, Settings on the top right, and everything else at the footer of the page. As for the profile, we’ve added drop-down menus to the top of every user’s profile page, making it easier to get to the information you want to see. You can read more about the navigation changes here.
2. The introduction of “Inbox”—The former “My Messages” and “My Shares” pages have been redesigned to make the communication between you and your friends easier. Now you can send a group of your friends a message with or without a shared link, and easily track the ensuing conversation in one “thread” in your Inbox.
3. Network Pages—To make networks more relevant to their real-world counterparts, we’ve built out pages where network members, events, trends, and demographic info are displayed. Anything visible on a Network page is something that is already accessible to members of that network, and we’ve added additional “Publicize” options to groups and events that make it easy to distinguish what will and will not appear on your Network page. In addition, each page has a full version for members of the networks, and a public version—with certain kinds of information blocked—for people outside that network.
Personally, I could not be more happy with these changes. One of my biggest annoyances with Facebook was the amount of clicks that it took to get somewhere, now I can get to any page just a couple clicks. I am still undecided about the inbox share as I have not really used it yet; shares were a flop in past Facebook updates.
As for the network pages, they have already become a love-hate. New features called network statistics list things such as top movies and political view percentage. These are all very interesting but I myself with just one more thing to check every 10 minutes when I am four hours into a marketing assignment. Good job Facebook.