It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Are Bigger Pics Enough to Get You Excited About Facebook Again?

Lemme lemme upgrade ya.
Spiffy! (Photo: Facebook)

Spiffy! (Photo: Facebook)

Facebook’s News Feed hasn’t changed all that much since way back in 2007, when the feature was first introduced as a text-heavy way to say you were studying for your chem final, please send hugs/bagels! But in the age of the smartphone, photos and other visual content now comprise half of what gets shared in Facebook’s News Feed.

Hence the touch-up introduced today by Mark Zuckerberg and a cadre of chipper Facebook employees.

Photos will be bigger and better. There are numerous new tabs for you to play with, like photos, music, videos and most overwhelmingly “all friends,” so you can see every post from every Facebook friend. You wouldn’t want to miss a six-month-old kitten video from your third-grade bestie, would you?

Mark Zuckerberg positioned the revamp as another step in putting the the “news” in “News Feed.” In his brief introductory remarks, Zuck (hoodie clad, as always) used the term “personalized newspaper” more times than we could count. Facebook wants to provide you with a “broad diversity of content,” he explained, with a product that “takes all the things your friends are doing and put them right in front of you in one place.”

The result, promised design director Julie Zhuo, is a “a richer, simpler, more beautiful News Feed” that’s “focused on the things you care about.”

“There’s no other social service like this at scale,” said Mr. Zuckerberg.

The revamp does look nice, and hey, that music feed will be a fun way to crib Spotify suggestions from our hipper friends. But it’s also not an earth-shattering revamp, either. If you want an up-to-the-minute feed full of photos from people you care about, well, there’s Facebook subsidiary Instagram. If you want socially shaped, catered news, there’s Flipboard.

But of course, this revamp probably isn’t just for users, either. As Business Insider points out, Zuck alluded to these coming changes in the company’s most recently quarterly earnings call, painting a rosy picture for–you guessed it!–advertisers: ‘He said the ads will get even better, however, when Facebook is able to do “more with different kinds of media.'”

As soon as the announcement went live, journalism program manager Vadim Lavrusik promptly chimed in with an explanation of what the changes mean for “content discovery,” i.e., are my fans going to see any of my crap now

Today we’re announcing a new version of Facebook News Feed designed to reduce noise and clutter while enabling you to focus more on stories from people and pages you care most about. The new design will enable journalists to not only to keep up with content in new ways, but also to share more vibrant stories with their audience on Facebook.

As anyone in the page-views business can tell you, bigger pics mean more clicks.

The new feature is due to roll out starting today, but slowly, which means we’re sure to have a repeat of the excruciating wait for Graph Search, which became boring about 15 minutes after we finally got it.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com