There’s not much debate about what’s going to take place Thursday morning at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.: the company has already said that it’s going to unveil an update to its service’s News Feed, the most vital part of the Facebook experience and one that hasn’t seen an update in quite a while.
But we’re still not sure exactly how Facebook might change the design and/or features of this service. Until the event starts at 10am PT, check out my thoughts on the things Facebook really shouldn’t break in this update.
Thanks for hanging out with us this morning! We’ll have more coverage from Menlo Park and the News Feed redesign event later today.
Zuckerberg walks off with the mic, but no, he doesn’t drop it. That’s it for the official Q&A.
Zuck addresses ranking of the news feed, which he notes people have been talking or blogging about. Says the main reason is that not everyone visits FB every day (although that’s growing), is that they want the most important stuff to hit you as soon as you log in.
Apparently you can opt into the new News Feed here: https://www.facebook.com/about/newsfeed
Also interesting, Zuck says he thinks FB’s relationship with Instagram will help how they display info from all apps. Doesn’t seem like they’re viewing it as part of the FB photo experience, rather, a third-party app.
He specifically notes Pinterest and Quora as the kinds of info people might want to highlight as they cross-post to FB. Again, mention of the personalized newspaper.
“It’s treated the same as all other open graph apps,” Zuck says of Instagram and how the content will be displayed.
Interesting question, someone asks which apps will display music news within the new music tab. The company says right now we’ll be getting info from known music apps, but the scope will grow. We’ll also get news on upcoming shows and artist news.
No impact whatsoever on Pages, we hear. So business pages will look the same.
“There’s a lot more pressure on the system to service the different kinds of publishers,” Cox says, on why they’ve decided on these specific options for users after years of trying different combos.
Why a new news feed? Because people have asked for it, Cox said. They’re excited with how it will display on mobile.
We want to “behave like a newspaper would,” Struhar tells us. Interesting comparison they’ve been using here, but makes sense considering how much content FB delivers.
And that’s the end of the official presentation — we’ve moved on to Q&A.
“Goodbye Clutter,” Facebook tells us. And yeah, it does look remarkably simpler and cleaner than what we’ve seen before, mainly by removing random tabs and sections.
The new feed will have a “limited rollout today,” which you can find at facebook.com/newsfeed. Acknowledgement that people will probably freak out when they first see it.
(Much like Pinterest actually) there’s a button that will show up at the top to notify you when you have new stories. So “2 new stories” whenever the feed updates.
Much like on mobile, you can pop out a left-hand navigation bar that gives you icons to all of Facebook’s different pages and options (like third-party games or apps you use through Facebook, such as Messenger.)
On the main desktop page, there’s really only two main columns now — news feed and a navigation bar on the right (with our tab options, people you might know, and ads, of course.)
“This is a very mobile-inspired design,” he says. It does look like something you’d see on a mobile device, even for the desktop version.
Now we have FB’s Chris Cox talking to us about mobile consistency. Crucial for FB considering that it’s declaring itself a mobile-first company now.
New tabs on top right of news feed are: all friends, most recent, close friends, music, photos, games, following, and more. But the more you use certain tabs, the more they’ll show up as options.
Sweet, for those of us who like subscribing to public figures or news outlets for updates, we’ll get a tab that lets us view updates from those pages all in one place.
“We’ve never had a design that’s as vibrant or as immersive as what you see today,” Struhar says.
Heavy emphasis on music here today (second only to photos maybe.) New music tab will let you see what friends are listening to, and keep up with updates from your favorite artists.
At the top right of the newsfeed, you’ll see tabs that let you pick how to view news feed. For instance, you’ll be able to see *all* posts from *all* friends in a chronological “all friends” feed (if you really want to see that.)
Some people want to see all the events friends are attending, or photos they’re uploading, or music they’re sharing. But not surprisingly, people want different things. So the new news feed will let you pick what you see.
Chris Struhar, FB’s tech lead, taking over now to talk about what people want to actually see in the newsfeed. Now the good stuff.
The company is showing us the desktop newsfeed and the mobile newsfeed side by side, and they look remarkably similar. Not much missing from mobile by comparison.
More info in the newsfeed about things you like, as well. So if you like Taylor Swift, you’ll see photos or articles people are posting that talk about Taylor, even if she’s not posting those articles to her fan page.
Another update to the feed will come from upcoming events — more promotion of things FB things you might be interested in attending this weekend, for instance.
The new updates will include more content from third party apps — when you’re pinning things to Pinterest, we’ll get larger photo previews on your feed.
Huh, now when you check into places on FB, a lot more content will show up. The updates will add a map or photo so people can see where you are.
Photo albums and article previews are also getting facelifts, with larger preview images, titles, and summaries.
In the new design, the news feed will fill much more of the page, with larger photos, than the approximately 40 percent of the page it used to occupy. “Less clutter,” FB’s design director tells us.
First impression of the new news feed: huge photos.
Newsfeed used to be mostly text, Zuck says, but now that we all have cameras in our pockets, more than 50 percent of newsfeed content is now photos and visual content. Big emphasis on images here.
We’re looking at a very early version of news feed from 2007. Man, that thing looks boxy. Interesting reminder how much it’s changed.
Newsfeed should have a top section and then let you “drill down” into any topic you want. So the best newspaper should have sections with more detail.
“We believe that the best personalized newspaper should have a wide variety of content,” he says.
Newsfeed is the most important thing we do, he says. But it’s not just a single stream of content.
Here’s Zuck, let’s go.
Room is still filling up with FB folks and press, but still nothing yet.
Ironic. We are listening to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.” Wonder if that means Zuck is ditching the hoodie for this?
Hey guys! We’re here at the event set up and waiting. Lot of press drinking “Facebook brew” coffee, but no news yet.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of Facebook’s headquarters.
Eliza’s just getting set up with the rest of the media throngs, she’ll be up and running shortly.