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Facebook is rolling out an updated notifications tab today that puts local news, upcoming events, and other miscellaneous information next to the messages informing people that someone has liked a status update or shared a photo.
The update is a tacit admission that Facebook holds too much information that people are expected to hunt down. A friend’s birthday is on their profile page, the address for a concert is on its event page; and the time a television show airs is found on yet another page. Now that will all be funneled into a single place with today’s update.
Facebook will offer other information, too, in this updated notifications tab. Want to know about the weather? How about when a movie is playing? Or a list of recommendations for dinner spots? Sure, you can find all those things with other services, but now you can also see everything right from Facebook’s app.
It’s a bit like Google Now but for Facebook. Google wanted to become the one place where people turn to find information; now Facebook wants to do the same. There are differences — Google Now pulls information from other apps, whereas Facebook seems to be limited to its own data — but the idea’s the same.
Facebook also has the benefit of sticking this in a place where everyone will see it. The company has occasion to make people’s phones buzz in their pockets many times throughout the day, thanks to the sheer amount of comments, likes, shares, and other forms of interaction available on everything that’s shared to it.
Now, every time one of those notifications is sent, people have a chance to fall down the rabbit hole. Only instead of finding the Wonderland into which Alice fell, they’ll enter a world where people share their opinions, their photographs, and the funniest memes in exchange for the only currency that matters, “Likes.”
It’s a good plan to make people more dependent on Facebook, to spend more time in its mobile app, and even to provide yet another place where the company can put advertisements between the things people really want to see. The update is rolling out to Android and iPhone users in the United States now.
For a closer look, check out the demo video below from Facebook.