Facebook is launching a series of changes to the News Feed, including the addition of a real-time “ticker.”
The changes, which will begin rolling out Tuesday night, are designed to keep you always up to date on the important events in your friends’ lives, even if you haven’t logged in for a few days. “Today’s updates are about not missing important updates in News Feed,” Facebook News Feed Product Manager Keith Schacht tells Mashable.
The first change is designed to make it possible to see all the big events in your friends’ lives since the last time you checked your feed, regardless of whether it’s been three minutes or three weeks. “News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper,” Facebook says in a blog post.
To do this, it has removed the “Top Stories and “Most Recent” links on the top of the News Feed and replaced it with a smarter feed that adjusts content based on the last time you checked it. If you haven’t been on Facebook for three days, it will pull out the top stories from your network. This means you won’t miss important relationship status changes, photos or big life events.
If you’re a more frequent visitor of Facebook, your News Feed will be filled with more recent content in chronological order. The social network is also giving you the ability to tweak the top stories in your News Feeds by marking or unmarking updates as a “Top Story.”
The second change affects how photos are displayed in the News Feed. Simply put, photos will be larger and more prominent. This was one of the top user feature requests. The goal was to bring photos front and center and make them even more beautiful.
“It’s just an incredibly popular form of content,” Schacht says.
The final update Facebook is rolling out is the addition of a news ticker above the chat column on the right-hand side. The ticker, which the social network has been testing with a small group of users for the past few weeks, is a real-time feed of all the activity happening in your social graph. Unlike the News Feed, which focuses on the past, ticker focuses on present activity. Essentially, it replaces the function of the “Most Recent” section of the News Feed.
Clicking on an item in the ticker will bring up that content in a hover window on the page, where you can comment or interact with the content in real time. Schacht says that this results in instant conversations. “By surfacing what’s happening right now anywhere on the site, we are creating shared experiences with your friends,” he says.
The changes follow two other big changes to the Facebook News Feed. The first, a revamp of Friend Filters, affects how much you hear from your friends in the feed. The second, the launch of the Subscribe Button, lets you control what kind of updates you get in your feed.
The social network will be making more announcements this week at its f8 developer conference, where it is expected to unveil a music and media-sharing platform and a major profile redesign.
Facebook’s News Feed now delivers top stories to you based on the last time you logged in. That way, if you haven’t logged in for a few days, you won’t miss important life events in your News Feed. Users can also adjust their News Feeds by marking or unmarking updates as “Top Stories”.