The Facebook redesign is officially launching tonight, though it’s not exactly clear to exactly how many users yet. You can try accessing the new home page at www.new.facebook.com. So far, users from several networks have been able to access it.
Inside Facebook has a first look at the new Facebook home page. Here’s what’s new:
1. Publisher Shortcuts
At the top of the new home page is a menu of links to your most popular Publisher applications. By default, these are all Facebook-built applications, but if these links follow the same rules as the profile page Publisher app list, third party apps should automatically be moved into these slots with frequent use. This gives very high prominence to content creation on your own profile within Facebook.
2. Application Bookmarks
For the first time since the Platform launched, applications now have a presence inside the Facebook home page. The Bookmarks section highlights applications you’ve bookmarked, and if you haven’t bookmarked 8 apps, the section is backfilled with apps you’ve recently or frequently used. Facebook could obviously expand the home page presence of applications in the future (a la MySpace) – one could argue it could be a great way to cut down on application invite & notification spam – but this is a good start for developers.
3. Navigation Menus Moved
As you can see, Facebook’s left nav is no more. Now, Applications are accessed from the Applications menu at the top of the page. The menu lists bookmarked and recently used applications first, and then all the rest. In addition, Search is now accessed on the right side of the top nav bar. Auto-complete is not yet enabled like it was on the old site. Finally, ads are no longer available in the left rail as well. They’ll be moving to the right rail in the new profile page, but it’s not clear if there will be any ads on the home page outisde of the News Feed.
Overall, the new home page is very clean and shows Facebook’s new priorities: content creation on the Wall – both your friends’ and your own. Overall, the new Facebook contains elements of FriendFeed (feed item commenting) and Twitter (focus on status updates) while applications have been largely pushed out of prime view on the profile page. Just how big the effects will be for the application economy remain to be seen.