Facebook is experiencing seismic shocks as it tries one more time to find the perfect fit between our lives and desires, and the larger social (and social business) community.
Unlike various software platforms, Facebook has never really adopted the public version number (beta, 1.0, 1.x, 2.0…) game. It has been more organic and idiosyncratic than that. Certain changes do seem to have been on the ‘new model’ level however: news feeds (that introduction was interesting), fan pages, Facebook chat, the appearance and disappearance of tabbed profiles (Facebook ‘beta’), all might have been seen as new version numbers.
What about this time?
The effort to hold onto its dominance in the face of Google’s relentless attacks is evident. A series of integrated platforms (including Spotify and Netflix) and a huge make-over of the static profile/newsfeed experience means that the changes will be significant.
Here’s a summary:
- Timeline. This is a significant (and visually attractive) make-over of the Profile that allows you to organize your life, including media, into a time-line of your life. This allows you to access your posts (text and media) by date. The biggest impact of this will be on your ability to retrieve older content that is now very difficult to get to. I am not sure of the business implications here yet, but from a user perspective, if this is done right, it could be a huge improvement in usability and quality of experience. And I can tell you right now it is going to be a HUGE time sink for some people! Privacy implication: not only can you now dig up your past, so can any of your ‘friends’. Once again pruning your profile and micro-managing your privacy settings is critical.
- Ticker. Just like a stock ticker, or for most of us more like a Twitter feed in a desktop client, this will be a side-bar with real-time updates of all of your friend’s activities on Facebook.
- Apps. As users increasingly have their Facebook moments on their mobile devices, mobile apps are going to explode. In the new release there is a lot of talk about greater interactivity between apps and your profile. Basically they are promising a richer interactivity and media content. Privacy note: now more than ever, you should read the ‘permissions’ you grant applications before you install them on your desktop or phone.
- Gestures. Forget ‘Like’. You will be soon able to ‘Adore’ or ‘Hate’ that comment, picture, video… anything. I can’t wait to see what that looks like when it hits full implementation. Again, the public flow of your tastes and interactions will become increasingly nuanced and paint an increasingly accurate picture of you as a consumer. We’ll see what the privacy implications of this one are!
So, Google +, you’re up. What’s next?