Facebook are making significant changes to user functionality at the moment in particular around the area of your newsfeed and status updates. That’s the great thing about a bit of competition. Google + was released recently and will be rolling out new functionality rapidly. Facebook needs to ensure that it stays ahead of Google so moving very quickly and listening to their customers is the way to go.Here’s a couple of changes you may have seen recently seen related to your status updates on Facebook. It makes available some functionality most of which was available already but hidden from the user.
a). Facebook are moving away from people checking in locations and instead when you are putting in a status update you can associate the update with a location. We hear lots of talk about Foursquare for checking in to places but it’s still relatively small. The problem is that people don’t want to be checking in to places all the time. I think adding a location onto a place as part of your status update is a better way to go. As you are specifying your updates there is still potential of offering deals based on your location. Facebook are giving up on daily deals probably because they can see the problems that Groupon are starting to run into. Groupon are still loosing money (over 100 million per quarter) and running out of cash.
b). Google + have the concept of Circles where you group people and then you can share and discuss with people based on your circles. Facebook do have groups which are set up for discussion purposes but some people just want to group their friend lists. Quite often your friend list contains business people that you are connected with but you may not want to share everything with. Facebook have ‘lists’ for a long time which allows you to group friends but the functionality is cumbersome and hidden. Facebook have made the first step into making this more useful by allowing you to filter your newsfeed by these groups. So I can now set up a list of business people and view a newsfeed of all these items.
C). Facebook have also reconsidered privacy and have realised that it is important to people and most Facebook users don’t understand what is shared out and to who when they send a status update. When you are sending out a status update the default is ‘public’. This means that it is made available outside of Facebook. Try out Openbook and do a search based on status updates and you’ll be surprised about what you find. Now when you are sharing out your update you can specify if the update is a public update, for friends only or set up custom settings.
D). On you status updates you are able to tag someone in the update by specifying an ‘@’ symbol and then typing in their name. This now has got a bit easier because now when you send out an update you can also specify who you want to share with for that particular update.
Watch out for more updates coming soon. I can certainly see them changing Facebook Edgerank which works out what data is published to your newsfeed. You will also have much more control over what is in your newsfeed. Stay tuned…