Big changes are coming to Facebook. This Thursday, the social network plans to launch a radical new redesign of its news feed — the biggest overhaul since the feature launched in 2006. The basic premise is that news feed 2.0 will give you more control of the kind of stuff you encounter, like photos, music, and maybe even video. Here's what we know so far:
What kind of changes are coming?
New ways to filter the content you see. Sources tell TechCrunch that news feed's next iteration will include a Photo feed for Facebook and Instagram photos your friends upload, as well as a Music feed to glean what everyone's listening to. During Facebook's Q4 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook's design will evolve "to show richer kinds of stories" with a move towards larger, more dynamic pictures and more immersive media.
Doesn't Facebook already let you sort your news feed?
Yes, but right now, you can only sort updates by Top Stories or Most Recent, which basically just reshuffles the updates you see. The idea behind the new content-rich feeds is you'll spend more time perusing specific kinds of things your friends share.
Isn't there already a music feed?
Indeed there is, but right now, it's a little tricky to get to. (I had to click the tiny "music" link in the "Apps" section of the left-hand module.) Right now, it lists what your friends are listening to on services like Spotify or Rdio, upcoming concerts for bands you like, and things like top tracks. The new Music feed will apparently be given more shine.
What's in it for Facebook?
Better ads, mostly. Brands you "like," for example, can theoretically splash larger, magazine-style pictures across your page in the Photos feed... for a price, of course.
Or, if you're a big music buff, a band with a new album coming out could pay for ad real estate in your Music feed. "Historically, advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos and we haven't provided those things," said Zuckerberg. With these coming changes, Facebook could strengthen its advertising arm.
What's in it for me?
A less cluttered feed. More control over the kinds of things you see. Easier navigation. "Overall, the launch event should be a big win for both Facebook and its users," says Josh Constine at TechCrunch. The announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. PT this Thursday.