Facebook Begins Rolling Out New Home Page Design

Facebook is now fully launching the long-planned redesign, with 80 million users getting it tonight — that’s 80 million of the now-400 million people using the site, the company says. The new design is basically what we’ve been examining in detail since the first test screenshots apppeared last October.

Parts of the site that were formerly located in the bottom toolbar — bookmarks, notifications, chat — are now being moved up into the left-hand navigation column on the homepage, or into the top navigation bar. Here are some more details gleaned from Facebook this evening.

First off, a lot more people are engaging with notifications in the new design, Facebook’s Peter Deng tells us, which isn’t surprising since it’s at the top left-hand side of the site instead of the right hand of the bottom toolbar. Notifications for third parties will appear within the new interface for the rest of the month, until Facebook removes them on March 1.

There are a few other new points that the company revealed today. The news feed will now be more clearly delineated at the top. “Credits Balance,” as we noted in an update to our last post, now appears in the drop-down of the new Accounts page on the top right-hand corner. The new search box shows search results for people based on how closely they’re connected to you — how many friends you both have in common, etc. The photo uploader has been rebuilt from scratch, and promises far better performance than the prior one.

While notifications have been moved up to the top, and bookmarks slotted into the left-hand navigation column on the home page, Chat is a little different. The instant message service now appears beneath the new bookmarks section on the home page, and shows you friends who are online and available to chat; the list is sorted by how often to talk to the people, and other factors. Meanwhile, a part of the bottom toolbar is sticking around — pop-up window on the right side of every page, where you chat with people as you use various parts of Facebook or third party apps.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also tells us that the company is planning to roll out “something cool” every month from now on, but no word on what products we’ll see.

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