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Facebook's Newest Updates

Facebook tells us that they have a redesigned user home page along with new public profiles for celebrities and organizations. Many critics say that the changes are in an effort to resemble Twitter.

In a blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the changes were necessary because as Facebook has become a conduit for more and more information, the need to find relevant and recent information has grown. It's all about the need for up-to-the-minute information, like Twitter offers

Good news to those of us updating our status. We will no longer have to start the message with our name. Facebook now asks, "What's on your mind?"

From the Official Facebook Blog

Over the past five years, Facebook has evolved to make sharing information more efficient and to give people more control. This year, we are going to continue making the flow of information even faster and more customized to those you want to connect and communicate with, no matter how broadly or privately. To give you a framework for how we're thinking about these upcoming changes, it's important to understand how Facebook has developed and where we're heading.

The Social Graph and The Stream

When we started Facebook in 2004, it was just a basic directory with some names, interests, contact information and a profile picture. If you wanted to find out about a friend's updates, you had to check your friend list for updated profiles and visit each friend's profile to see what had changed. This worked because people didn't change their profiles too often. Over time we added photos, videos, groups and events, and people started sharing more and more information. So in 2006, we launched News Feed, which highlighted for you the most interesting updates from your friends on your home page. It helped you understand everything that was going on.

As more and more information flows through Facebook, the need for people to easily discover the most recent and relevant content has grown. That's why when we redesigned the profile last year, we focused on the Wall—the stream of information telling you what is going on with a person—rather than the previous profile style of boxes containing unchanging information. This was a big step in our evolution because it moved Facebook in the direction of helping people share immediate experiences with one another: a thought, a status, a photo, a note, a feeling.

In 2007, we popularized the term Social Graph to describe how Facebook maps out people's connections. The idea is that these connections—whether friendships, affiliations or interests—exist already in the real world, and all we're trying to do is map them out. We believe that connecting people to their friends is just the beginning, and we're working hard on making Facebook a place for people to connect with and keep track of all the interests in their lives.

We think that as it becomes easier to connect and share across the social graph, people—as well as companies, governments and other organizations—will share more information about what is happening with them. As this happens, the world will become more open and people will have a better understanding of everything that is going on around them.

One way to think about this is as a timeline—or a stream. As people share more, the timeline gets filled in more and more with what is happening with everything you're connected to. The pace of updates accelerates. This creates a continuous stream of information that delivers a deeper understanding for everyone participating in it. As this happens, people will no longer come to Facebook to consume a particular piece or type of content, but to consume and participate in the stream itself.

In order to make this a reality, we must build Facebook to give everyone the power to share anything they want and connect with anyone they want. The way we're doing that is to first extend people's ability to connect with everything that interests them, and to give people a way to get updates from all of these connections. Then, we're going to increase the pace of the stream, so you can immediately see what is going on around you.

What's New Today

Starting today, we are announcing new profiles for public figures and organizations. Once called Pages, these new profiles will now begin looking and functioning just like user profiles. Just as you connect with friends on Facebook, you can now connect and communicate with celebrities, musicians, politicians and organizations. These folks will now be able to share status updates, videos, photos or anything else they want, in the same way your friends can already. You'll be able to keep up with all of their activity in your News Feed. This means that you can find out that Oprah is reading a book backstage before a show, CNN posted a breaking story or U2 is working on a new song, just as you would see that your friend uploaded new photos from her trip to Europe.

We're also going to make some changes to the home page. The new home page will let you see everything that's shared by your friends and connections as it happens. It will also provide you more control by letting you choose exactly who you see among the people and things you are connected to. You can decide you no longer want to get updates from your old friend from high school who you rarely talk to, or you can filter the stream to only see updates about your family members. And now, if you want, you can read what President Obama is saying on the same page as your best friend. You can find out what it is your mother, your high school classmate or President Obama are doing, thinking and sharing right now just by logging into Facebook.

We'll begin rolling out the new home page next week, so please check out our home page tour to see the new design and let us know what you think about it. This is an exciting move for us and we have more coming, so keep an eye on the blog for more updates about upcoming products.

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