March 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM ET
"What we're trying to do is give everyone in the world, the best possible newspaper we can," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when he stepped onto the stage during a press event in Menlo Park, Calif. on Thursday. A News Feed redesign that focuses on more visual posts, the ability to view content-specific feeds, and consistency between mobile and desktop experiences is the topic of the day.
The best personalized newspaper, Zuckerberg explained, should "enable you to drill into any topic that you want." Yes, this means all those rumors about the News Feed being split into several feeds were right on the money.
You'll be able to filter your News Feed for specific items such as photos, music-related posts, sports-related posts, and so on. There will finally be a way to see all the posts made by your friends, in chronological order, in a single feed. There'll also be a "Following" feed which will include posts from all the Pages you like and people whom you follow (but with whom you are not friends).
What we still don't know is how posts from third parties (like NBC News) will be affected, or if the mysterious ranking algorithm which determines which content you see from "friends" and followed (or liked) people and pages will change significantly.
But that's not all. Things aren't merely being split into content-specific feeds. The content is also being presented in a more polished way now. Posts will be formatted in a manner that highlights photos, information related to the places your friends frequent, and more.
Photos are bigger, those "so-and-so and such-and-such are now friends" messages are more informative, links shared by multiple individuals are lumped together so that you can toggle through the various discussions in comments, events are more visual and lined up on a calendar, and link previews offer more details.
Facebook is additionally finally introducing some significant consistency between its smartphone, tablet and desktop experiences. Most of the little details seem to translate across all three. A menu will follow you on the left-hand side of Facebook — no matter where you are — and allow you to adjust what you're seeing.
The desktop version of the new News Feed design will begin rolling out today. It will be a few weeks before the mobile versions arrive. To be among the first to get a peek at the new design, you may add yourself to a "waiting list."
"Goodbye clutter," the waiting list page declares. "Hello bright, beautiful stories."
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