Bored and looking for something to do with your Facebook friends? Now (for some users, at least) the site suggests games to play within the Facebook chat module.
As noticed by Inside Facebook reader Matteo Gamba, users who have the chat bar can click “Show Games,” when they click the settings button. This will then show games the user plays, as well as suggested games.
In the coming weeks, Facebook will roll out an update to the News Feed design it introduced last year. More users will be switched from the old News Feed design, with a white background, to a mobile-inspired News Feed with bigger images and a darker background. There is no change to the News Feed algorithm; this is just for aesthetics.
In a similar move to trending posts, Facebook will bring more posts related to pages users have liked into the News Feed. For instance, if a page you haven’t like tags a page you have, that post could appear in your News Feed.
Facebook recently added a trending section — a move reminiscent to the trending topics on Twitter — to the right side of News Feed. It shows popular topics buzzing on Facebook right now, and users can click to see the posts by friends, celebrities and pubic profiles.
Now it appears that Facebook’s trending feature is getting some prime News Feed real estate. Some users are seeing stories from publishers about popular topics, such as Bob Costas, as illustrated above. Sister site AllFacebook also saw instances where trending hashtags are getting into the News Feed. When a user clicks on the trending topic above the story, a lightbox pops up with posts from friends, pages and public profiles about the topic.
We’ve reached out to Facebook about this and will update the story when we hear back.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal for ads on the site: someday a post from Target will be as timely and relevant as your best friend’s vacation photos. While this may seem crazy at first, Facebook’s advertising offerings are getting better, as evidenced by record ad revenue in Q4.
Facebook released its Q4 earnings and usage stats Wednesday, showing an incredible $2.5 billion in revenue — $2.3 billion of which came directly from advertising. In Q3, Facebook pulled in $2 billion total and in Q4 2012, that figure was $1.5 billion.
However, Zuckerberg thinks Facebook ads can be so much more, and he’s not thinking in dollar figures.
Facebook announced Tuesday another change to its News Feed algorithm, this time involving status updates. Some page admins last year found that plain-text status updates (or status updates including a link) were doing well in terms of reach. However, Facebook found that engagement was lower for these types of posts.
The social network decided that since status updates from pages behave differently than photo, video and link posts, they should be treated differently. While users may see more status updates from friends, pages may see a decline in reach for these types of posts, writes Facebook’s Chris Turitzin, Product Manager, News Feed Ranking:
As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.
Many Page owners often ask what kind of content they should post. This is difficult to answer, as it depends on who your audience is and what they want to see.
Facebook has been testing a trending feature similar to Twitter’s trending topics, but the social network announced Thursday that it will start rolling it out for users in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India and Australia. This may not be available immediately and is a roll-out.
On the top right corner of News Feed, Facebook will show trending topics based on popular conversations happening around the social network. Users can then click the topic to see public and friends’ posts about that topic.
A Facebook reader, similar to the popular app Flipboard, has long been rumored, but a new report suggests that the social network could launch the product by the end of the month. According to Re/Code, Facebook will soon launch “Paper,” a Facebook product that acts like Flipboard, a visual news magazine app with customized recommendations.
If true, this falls in line with Facebook’s efforts to bring more and more features from outside the social network to inside, prompting users to spend more and more time within the site. Re/Code’s sources that this has been a “multi-year effort” by Facebook’s News Feed team, and it’s almost ready to come to fruition.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be more like a newspaper, and a recent test discovered by Fast Company shows that designers are doing what they can to make this true. Facebook is toying with using serif fonts on link headlines, a small change to the untrained eye, but something very noticeable to font aficionados.
Above, the old lettering is on the left, while the new test is on the right. Facebook confirmed to Fast Company that this is something they’re testing among select users. Additionally, ads appear bigger within News Feed on this test.
There has been much uproar over Facebook’s December 2 tweak to its EdgeRank algorithm and how it negatively affects the News Feed reach of business brand page updates. Nicholas Carlson over at Business Insider has infact claimed that “Facebook screwed lots of online retailers just in time for the holidays,” and in a way he’s right of course:
It has been a less profitable holiday season for many online retailers thanks to a small change Facebook made to how the site works.