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More Than Just a Redesign Going on with Facebook This Week

Facebook's Big Week

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It’s been a pretty big week for Facebook. Not only is there a lot of talk about Facebook’s potential for becoming the top news source on the web, but the company celebrated its sixth birthday, is passing the 400 million user mark, and began rolling out some new design changes. In addition, the company is said to be rewriting its messaging feature and preparing to launch a webmail product, but first things first.

The Birthday and 400 Million Users

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed it in a blog post last night. "Today we’re celebrating our sixth birthday, and this week there will be 400 million people on Facebook. Just one year ago we served less than half as many people, and thanks to you we’ve made great progress over the last year towards making the world more open and connected."

"Facebook began six years ago today as a product that my roommates and I built to help people around us connect easily, share information and understand one another better." he added. "We hoped Facebook would improve people’s lives in important ways. So it’s rewarding to see that as Facebook has grown, people around the world are using the service to share information about events big and small and to stay connected to everyone they care about."

Facebook hosted a celebration and announced some releases at the Facebook headquarters last night. This was followed by a hackathon where Facebook staff stayed up all night coding and building new ideas for products.

Do you like the direction Facebook’s gone in for the past six years? Let us know.

Design Changes

Facebook announced some new changes to the design of its homepage. Users can find their newest notifications, requests, and messages in the top menu. When a user receives a notification, they will see a red bubble appear in the left-hand corner by the search bar. When the icon is clicked, a drop-down menu appears with the most recent notifications. The Home/Profile links are in the top-right corner with the Account menu, which includes privacy settings and the log out link.

Facebook Notifications

The menu on the left-hand side of the screen has been completely reworked. "The left menu has been organized to make it easier for you to communicate with and discover content from your friends. You can now access your messages and other core features all in one place, to the left of your News Feed," says Facebook’s Jing Chen. "With the Photos dashboard you can browse recent photos of your friends, and the Events dashboard lists your upcoming events along with events your friends are attending. The Friends dashboard will help you find friends, see which of your friends have recently updated their profiles and filter your News Feed by Friend Lists you may have already created."

Facebook Left Menu

Chat has also been made more prominent with a list of online friends displayed on the left. The new apps and games dashboards, which have been discussed lately, can be accessed from the menu as well. The dashboards feature personalized updates from the apps, and they have launched with new privacy settings.

The changes are still rolling out, so it’s possible that you do not have them yet, but you will soon enough.

What do you think about Facebook’s design changes? Good Move or bad? Tell us what you think.

The Webmail Product

Michael Arrington is reporting that a "source with knowledge of the product" says Facebook is launching a webmail product. If MySpace can do it, surely Facebook can too. It’s being referred to right now as "Project Titan", although the name will likely change.

Facebook’s messages as they stand right now, lend to email notifications. When you check your email, you find that someone has sent you a message on Facebook. If Facebook gets you using its own email service, it’s cutting out the middle man, and that means…you guessed it – more time spent on Facebook.

Would you use Facebook for email if they offered a full webmail product? Tell us why or why not.

Facebook As the Web’s Top News Source?

I’ve already written on this topic this week, but basically, the more time people spend on Facebook, the more convenient they may find it to simply get their news feeds there. If Facebook enters the email game, that’s only going to get people using Facebook that much more, and even open up yet another way for them to get their news on Facebook, through email newsletters and news alerts.

Do you see people increasingly getting their news on Facebook?
Share your thoughts.


Update: 
Microsoft has announced some changes to its partnership with Facebook. Facebook will now be taking over its own display advertising, and will get a more feature-rich version of Bing search for its web search.

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  • Tammy

    Nice change…since about 9pm eastern last night there are thousands of us getting an error when trying to log in.

    Account Unavailable
    Your account is temporarily unavailable due to site maintenance. It should be available again within a few hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.

    And all you get when you email for help is a reply saying they are sorry. You cannot find a human at all to speak with.

  • tmb1021

    Zuckerberg’s past comments concerning his users privacy concerns prompted me to delete my account there and since adding Microsoft as a partner and including Bing as their primary search tool? (http://bit.ly/9fDXe4 Valid link) No thanks! With M/$ in the mix even more I foresee major issues down the road for sure. M/$ can’t even keep their own product secure. They even went so far as to blame developers of 3rd party applications for the security faults!

    How the heck does anyone expect FB to keep theirs secure with M/$ involved?

  • Guest

    To DCGraphics, we think that it is a good upgrade to what they had before. But we are having issues with this search box being on the left side. We think the FB should move the search bar back to the right with the new icon they created with friend request, messages and notifications. Just a thought. http://www.dionnacollinsgraphics.com

  • Stewart

    No, I don’t think Facebook should have an e-mail account. They already have almost too much access to information about its users.

    And, I know a lot of people who want the dislike button re-instated. Come on Facebook, give your ‘clients’ what they want… a ‘dislike button’!

  • Guest

    Really do not like the changes they made in the last few months and then this new redesign is really bad!

  • Fox

    Maybe other Facebook users need yet another webmail service, but I am not among them. I have several webmail accounts already, for various purposes, so am not ready to pile another on… even if FB were working up some sort of innovation for their version, which I doubt. This potential new feature is less than exciting. I think FB’s energies could be better spent collecting usability data and feedback from its users.

  • http://onlinerakebackpoker.com Rakeback poker Video Blogger

    In my opinion Facebook has just got better and better, the only problem I have with it is being able to find the groups tab.
    As someone who has created poker groups in the past I would like to see a more prominent groups button. I don’t think people use or visit their groups as often as they would if the button wasn’t placed nearly hidden at the bottom of the page.

  • Guest

    Why do they have Video listed in a subcatagory under Photos? It should be in the same main menu as Photos.

  • Guest

    I would love to have e-mail through Facebook. I think it will encourage people to visit my facebook page both friends and customers, as I have two on-line stores. My sister uses MSN mail and has never had any issues, so I think the people who don’t want Microsoft involved are just paranoid.

  • Guest

    I would definitely NOT use FB for mail- already having several email accounts and the ability to get personal messages forwarded to those accounts as I choose, why would I?
    I have a big problem with FB as a NEWSOURCE- Facebook has deleted pro-Israel groups while it allows unfettered access with no censorship to Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist fan pages.
    In violation of it’s own TOS it has removed one group’s admin & founder for not showing ID to prove he is using his “real” name. However a HUGE number of accounts exist under fake names or famous or obviously fictictious names and none of them were asked for proof nor kicked off.
    Facebook hosts several hate groups and is very slow to respond to complaints about them or denies they are hate groups in violation of their OWN RULES (not a free speech issue) I would certainly NOT EVER trust ZUCKER & CO to edit NEWS.

  • http://www.pepalo.com sj

    change is always good :)
    i liked the redesigned page

  • Julianne Koons

    I do not like the new design, for me it is complicated. Was it broken before?

  • Angela

    It is going to take some getting used to, but its ok. However before I could just click the “feed” and read everything all my friends posted, now sometimes it will say “there are no posts” and I can’t see things I am looking for like a game somebody posted, that I wanted to try etc…

  • http://www.tigertempletruths.org Dee

    I previously had the log-in issues since the new design was released. That was eventually fixed. Now, however, I’ve had an ‘oops something’s gone wrong’ message when trying to email through facebook for over 24 hours. Irritating.

  • http://www.dimasoft.co.uk Dimasoft Limited

    At first glance I didnt really like the new interface. I mean, for crying out loud, just when your getting used to the current interface they go changing it again!

    I felt there’s a lot of repetition of links in the new interface. The facebook logo (which doesn’t really work because whenever I click it, it always tells me there’s no new post), the home link and the news feed, to me they’re all the same. Then the photos, don’t like the way its arranged as well, could do without that. There are lots of things I havent tried to find yet so I’m sure when I do I’ll have more to talk about, pissed off I’m sure…

    As for the email thing, like some people said, I already have tons of emails so I could definitely do without that. I love sending messages on facebook, but do I want to have a seperate email account for facebook? No thanks!

  • http://www.spacyber.com JP

    It’s getting better and easier to maneuver around. In the beginning it was totally complicated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Before-You-Say-Yes-/300251098454 Doreen Pendgracs

    I’m getting aggravated with FB continually changing and cramping things up. I find the new homepage to look cramped and I don’t like it.

  • timster

    The reason FB has been so successful, is that people are really disallusioned and disgusted by all the spam received via email and the inability to suppress it. FB is a much better successor to email. As soon as spammers get a hold of FB, it will fall into obscurity. Bringing email into FB will simply hasten that. FB should revel in their accomplishment and not try to pollute it.

    • Guest

      Uh, spammers are frequently on Facebook, too.

      And I don’t get any spam at all in my inbox (ok, maybe one or two emails a year but Gmail’s filter is pretty damn good). And my email address is pretty public.

  • Sandie

    Facebook for email? Nope.

    1) fb launches sudden changes that are often glitchy and non-intuitive. Hate to have that happen for my email, when I sign in and everything’s completely different and it takes even longer to slog through my list because now I have to learn to use it all over again.

    2) fb doesn’t get privacy at all– I’d be concerned that too many folks could take a peek at my email communications.

    That said, love the fb for brief, PUBLIC communications and pics.

  • Guest

    I look at Status Updates 99% of the time I’m on FB, but now they’re hidden in the left menu. I hardly use the rest of that crap that they made easier to access. Thanks for nothing, FB.

  • IanR

    Bad…. really bad. I have to click twice to use the groups I used to, and the people in the Newsfeed are not the ones I interact with the most.

  • Colin

    i have deactivated my spacebook account. Why? it just doesnt work anymore. too much crap has been diddled with, every time i try to follow what my family is up to nothing is found, etc. good bye, it was good while it lasted.

  • Tommy

    Being a relatively newbie to FB, I am not having to unlearn and relearn maneuver techniques in my account. Different? Yes, and for the more seasoned FB users it 8is likely to be more complicated and confusing.

    As a host of new changes are taking place within FB, how about adding a Blog feature that could be easily accessed from anyone on FB or beyond?

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