By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 07, 2013 09:10 AM EST
Facebook is ready to introduce a radical redesign of its News Feed on Thursday, March 7, the biggest revamp since it launched the feature in 2006.
The social networking giant plans to unveil the new look at a press conference at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The revamped News Feed will reportedly provide users with new ways to catch up on their friends' activity, such as sorting through pictures or music they share.
With the current design, users can only sort their News Feed by "Top Stories" or "Most Recent." The redesign aims to address frequent user complaints over too little control over what appears in one's News Feed. The new look will also sport more engaging photos and videos.
For Facebook, meanwhile, the move has high stakes, as the News Feed is arguably the most valuable real estate on the social network. It's the one place where users get updates from their friends, and it's the grand plaza for Facebook advertisers to connect with the network's more than one billion users.
"Advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos, and we haven't provided those things historically," Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said back in January, during a conference call with analysts. "But one of the things that we've done in the last year, as you've seen, the organic News Feed product that consumers use are moving toward bigger pictures, richer media, and I think you will continue to see it go in that direction."
Facebook constantly makes minor tweaks, but a big redesign like this one is rare and is a big thing for the company. The social networking giant could alter many things to content-specific news feeds, and the big announcement is imminent. Facebook could opt for a live-updated list with in-depth posts regarding the big changes, or it could follow a Google-like pattern and release scheduled dumps of changes. It could also highlight the major modifications and explain why it thinks the new features are better than the old ones.
Facebook did not make any comments ahead of its press conference, but the expected changes include a multiple news feed feature with a photo feed, a music feed, and perhaps other options for news, videos and apps. This would make it easier for users to sort through the stream of updates, while allowing advertisers to serve better-targeted ads based on specific interests.
According to a new Mashable report, New Zealand already has a new look for the Facebook Timeline, and the redesign features a new toolbar at the top of the screen and an about widget below the profile picture. Timeline navigation is reportedly repositioned as well, and is now located at the top right of the page, replacing current ads. Meanwhile, shared stories now sport a "Like" button for the site below the post. More details will become available after Facebook's big announcement, so stay tuned.
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