Facebook users should prepare for some major announcements this week as f8, the company's developer event, approaches on Thursday.
A new music-related offering has long been expected, but also expected are more media-related announcements around movies and TV shows, as well as publishing. The Wall Street Journal has already put together a new Facebook-based version of its publication in WSJ Social.
Also expected are a new mobile app and photo-sharing app.
All of that stuff is fine and good, but according to recent reports, we can expect even bigger announcements that will affect the majority of users: a new profile redesign and new buttons to go along with the "like".
Mashable is reporting that "two sources familiar with Facebook's plans" say that a "major" redesign will be unveiled, and these will make, in Mashable's words, "Facebook profiles the nexuses for consuming content". That would go hand in hand with the expected media-related announcements, as well as other reports indicating that Facebook will launch buttons that say, "Read," "Listened," "Watched," and "Want."
The report about the buttons comes from TechCrunch, simply cting "a source" that isn't from Facebook, but it does fall in line with a report from Liz Gannes at All Things D, who says that "Read. Watch. Listen." is Facebook's official motto for f8.
Think about the ramifications for the already powerful Facebook advertising platform. Josh Constine at InsideFacebook makes a great point about a recently rolled out Facebook ad targeting option: "With Broad Category Interest targeting, which Facebook rolled out over the last few months but never announced, all this data becomes monetizable. A user wouldn’t have to formally Like the Page of a book for Facebook to know they’re interested in reading, because they often click “Read” on news feed posts. Rather than having to add a long list of popular book to Facebook’s traditional Specific Interest keyword targeting, an advertiser could simply target the “Literature/Reading” category. Then any users who Liked Pages of book or have clicked “Read” on news feed posts might see their ads."
Facebook ads have grown significantly in popularity, and they only continue to get more powerful. And with Facebook's huge user base, which it doesn't seem Google+ has put much of a dent in, advertisers will only have more reason to flock to THE social network.
Facebook has already made some significant changes lately. Some of them make the network more Google+-esque. We've seen some pretty harsh reaction over Facebook redesigns in the past, it will be interesting to see how the new stuff is greeted by users. Of course, past criticism has hardly translated into any substantial loss in users.