When Facebook users login today, they’re going to find something new – and, Facebook hopes, addicting – a real time stream of all their friends’ updates from across Facebook, the Facebook Platform, and Facebook Connect.
Facebook’s intention with the redesign is to increase engagement and sharing by users. As Mark Zuckerberg wrote last week,
As people share more, the timeline gets filled in more and more with what is happening with everything you’re connected to. The pace of updates accelerates. This creates a continuous stream of information that delivers a deeper understanding for everyone participating in it. As this happens, people will no longer come to Facebook to consume a particular piece or type of content, but to consume and participate in the stream itself.
How will users react? When Facebook originally launched the News Feed for the first time in September 2006, users initially responded in a roar of protest, only to stop shortly later after realizing the power of the News Feed to deliver valuable information about their friends. Facebook is hoping the success of the “live stream” won’t be measured by user protests this time around. However, that kind of reaction is highly unlikely – Facebook users are now much more accustomed to the nature of syndicated sharing Facebook has implemented in the News Feed. While the original launch of the News Feed was the first time Facebook users experienced that dynamic, simply accelerating the pace of the stream this time around is a smaller change for users to understand.
Will Facebook eventually open up the public timeline, as Twitter has? Such a move would make Facebook’s sharing stream much more valuable to application developers and third parties interested in mining the data for market research purposes. While many have speculated that Facebook will eventually open the feed given its recent symbolic move to join the OpenID Foundation and open up new stauts APIs for application developers, Facebook hasn’t made any official announcements yet.
Now that the live stream is core to the Facebook user experience, developers and marketers should adapt how they think about getting the most out of their Facebook efforts. We’ve prepared detailed guides, and further screenshots of today’s release are below:
- 8 Ways the Changing Facebook Home Page Will Affect Application Virality
- Facebook to Launch Redesigned Pages for Businesses – Tour & First Impressions
Update 1:40pm PT: Facebook says the new home page is rolling out now, but it will be migrating users slowly on a rolling basis and “everyone should have the new home page over the coming days.”
New Facebook Home Page Screenshots