Facebook has launched its first radical new redesign since 2009 and this time they are not giving users an opportunity to revert to the old version.
I have written in the past asking what is Facebook going to do about tackling Google+. I guess this is their first shot. Let's look at the new functionality:
Facebook have made a bit of a balls up here in that they have automatically chosen for everyone who got notications for everything that that was maybe a bit too much and have changed their setting to just receive "important" notifications. (Important in Facebook's eyes include birthdays and when someone tags or mentions you. It is this prescriptive behaviour (along with their terms and conditions, the changing of their privacy settings and Mark Zuckerberg in general) that have made Facebook a hate figure over the years.
To change your notication settings simply click the triange beside Home / Account Settings / Notifications (located on left hand side). Then just change your settings how you wish.
Since you are doing this I strongly advise you have a look at your Privacy Settings. Why? If your posts are public anyone can see when you have been calling your boss and asshole. To change your Privacy Settings simply click the triange beside Home / Privacy Settings / Control Your Default Privacy (located half way down the page). You should set this to Friends as a minimum I suggest. Depends of course how you use Facebook.
Facebook seem to be adopting the style of Twitter by having a rolling ticker on the right hand side that shows the latest updates from your network. By mousing over the content you can get more detail in a pop up. Already there have been complaints that this is distracting and there is no way of turning it off.
Top Stories Since Your Last Visit, Recent Stories and Subscriptions
In true social media fashion I asked Facebook what this was about and Igor got back with this:
You can click on the down arrow on the top right of every Top Story and unmark them as Top. That will start arranging them by time again, but it STILL has 'Recent' at the top, and then 'From Earlier' lower down, so overall the stories are not truly in time order. Also this subscriptions has been rolled out with no warning or explanation. I started subscribing to some friends because it said I was only subscribed to 'most updates' but it's all bullshit it turns out - you will still see all updates from friends as usual, it's more for controlling subscriptions to people you're NOT friends with, and are in effect following, like celebs on Twitter. I think FB could split user's actions into what they are reading, listening and watching, and you could then follow some people's tastes. E.g. I'd like to know what Nick is reading, but not what he's listening to. ~ Igor, via Facebook
Lists is the biggest sign in this release that Facebook are being on the defensive of Google+ by mimicking Circles. It can be found on the left hand side. I
Zuckerberg has recently said that he is looking to go for "real time serendipity". What he means by this is that I can see that Nick is listening to something on Spotify via the ticker, so then I can click and listen to the same thing.
Down the line is Timeline where you can post information in your past so users will be able to scroll through your history until your birth - sounds a bit like a visual wikipedia entry.
Facebook currently boasts 800 million users, most of whom are active - recently it clocked 500million users in one day!
Facebook seems to have played a defensive move again in order to consume the lion's share of the world's social networkers. It looks to be reacting and actually overreacting. Is it all really necessary?