Facebook, which turned six Feb. 4 and has more than 400 million users, improved its search engine and made several navigational changes to its homepage. The search bar, currently to the right for the majority of the site's users, is being moved to the center of the page, sitting above the News Feed in the top menu. Users will see their newest notifications, requests and messages in the top menu. The changes, designed to improve the social network's usability, will roll out gradually to all users and could spark an outcry from people who have gotten comfortable since the company's last major homepage change in October 2009.
Facebook Feb. 4 celebrated its sixth birthday in style
, revamping its search engine and making several navigational
changes to its valuable homepage.
The changes, designed to improve the social network's
usability, will roll out gradually to all users and could spark an outcry from people who have gotten comfortable
since the company's last major homepage change in October 2009.
The search bar, currently to the right for the majority
of the site's users, is being moved to the center of the page, sitting above
the News Feed in the top menu. When users type in friend names, the search bar
will auto-complete names for people who are the closest to you them according
to the people you share the most mutual friends with.
Users will see their newest notifications, requests and
messages in the top menu. When users receive a Facebook notification a red
bubble will appear in the left-hand corner near the search bar. When users click
on the icon, they'll see a drop-down menu with their most recent notifications.
See the pictures here
The Friends dashboard in the left menu lets users find
friends, see which friends have recently updated their profiles and filter their
News Feed by Friend Lists. Facebook Chat now offers a partial list of friends
with whom users frequently communicate in the left menu. To see all of their
Chat friends, users may still open the Chat bar in the bottom right-hand corner
or click "See All" at the bottom of the left menu.
The Photos dashboard lets users browse recent photos
of your friends, while the Events dashboard lists upcoming events, with events friends
are attending. Home and Profile links will be moved to the top-right corner
with peoples' Account menu, which includes privacy settings.
Facebook wants more users to use its thousands of
applications, including games, so new Applications and Games dashboards
are now accessible
via the Applications and Games links in the left menu homepage.
Previously, users access these links at the bottom of the homepage.
"The dashboards will surface the applications you've
interacted with most recently as well as your most recent application activity
and your friends' activity," Facebook engineer Jing Chen wrote in a blog
post. "You will also start to see counters next to the applications you
have bookmarked on your home page. Counters will notify you when you have a
specific action to take, so that you never miss your turn in a game or an
update from a friend in an application."
Users will be able to bookmark their favorite Facebookapps
using the Add Bookmark button in an application, enjoying one-click
access to them from the left menu beneath the Applications and Games
dashboards. News items will also now appear alongside applications in the
Chen said these features are launching with a new privacy
setting, so that if users do not wish others to see their application activity in
the dashboards they may change this in their Privacy settings. Facebook
encouraged it developers to read more about these changes in a blog post
Facebook unveiled the changes, which began rolling out to
80 million of the site's now 400 million users, at its sixth birthday party at
its Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters Thursday night. CEO Mark Zuckerberg honored
the company he launched from his Harvard University dorm room.
It will be interesting to see whether the majority of
users honor Facebook's homepage changes. Facebook upset
when it began allowing users
to toggle back and forth between a regular News Feed and a Live Feed Oct. 23.
Users clearly got over their initial alarm, as the site notched 300
million users in September and ascended from 350 million users Dec. 1
before topping the 400 friend mark this week.
Moreover, comScore said
the site more than doubled its U.S. audience, from 54.5 million users
in December 2008 to 111.9 million users in December 2009.