Late last night Facebook updated user newsfeeds under the new profile design. The move was expected as Mark Zuckerberg gave a first preview during the f8 keynote last week. The new feature enables users to filter through “Top Stories”, “Status Updates”, “Photos” and “Posted Items”. This means that users are now going to have access to many more news stories beyond the pre-filtered ones that Facbeook chose to display. There are two significant changes to this update.
FriendFeed-Like Commenting Added
One of the most significant changes is that there is now commenting on certain news feed items directly from within the feed. This is one of my initial complaints when Facebook launched commenting for the mini-feed. My guess is that we will start seeing a lot more commenting taking place as the new site design is rolled out to more users. One downside of this new feature is that not all stories can receive comments. It appears that you can add comments to all posted items, none of the photos, some of the status updates and certain stories within the “Top Stories”.
While it is not a total addition of comments, this is yet one more step that Facebook has made to totally duplication all of FriendFeed’s functionality. As Facebook adds the ability to import from more sources, they will eventually replace FriendFeed for mainstream users.
The Return of Story Preferences
Facebook removed the first iteration of preferences on news feed stories which simply displayed at thumbs up and a thumbs down. This time around Facebook has gotten a little more specific. You can now choose whether or not you want more or less stories about a specific user and more or fewer instances of a specific type of story (e.g. Posted Items, Events, Photos, and Videos). One thing that users can’t choose to reduce the frequency of is Fan Page additions. My guess is that this is due to Fan Page news feed stories are related to Social Ads.
It will be interesting to see if this new version of the news feed preferences will succeed.
It’s clear that the Facebook News Feed has received a total makeover. There is now the addition of comments to stories and the return of preferences. Facebook moves closer to full FriendFeed functionality with each new feature. Given the site’s reach, this could soon totally eliminate the need for using the FriendFeed site by mainstream users. It will be interesting to see how the FriendFeed – Facebook battle plays out. If FriendFeed plays their cards right they could end up getting acquired by a competitor of Facebook.
If they don’t play their cards right, I honestly think they could be rendered useless for most users.