Facebook has completed a series of changes to its service in the past several months. The last of these changes was completed a few days ago and calls for a special attention simply because Facebook had just redefined its role in the Social Media sphere.
People I spoke to in the past 3 three days did not like (an understatement) the new design. The opinions vary from person to person, but mainly they tend to focus on the design, or the look if you will.
To be perfectly fair, design is something that is very subjective. One person’s favorite design is another person least favorite design. With this in mind, trying to analyze a business that is a content/search/social media based business by sheerly focusing on design is like trying to rank a Blog by its sheer look and not its content. It is simply the wrong way.
I tried, therefore, to put things in order and share with you my view on Facebook’s new design. Also in this post, where I think Facebook is heading in 2010, and how Facebook is turning into the biggest Social Media Hub.
This is how it translates from a Social Media perspective:
- We now have the ability to Bookmark applications. You can bookmark your favorite applications using the “Add Bookmark” button in an application, this will allow a one-click access to your bookmarked applications from the left-hand menu. This to me sounds as if Facebook is trying to create a Delicious Bookmark service.
- The left column gives a very RSS feed like feeling. Notifications, news, and updates seem to appear live. The dashboard is surfacing the most recent application activity and your friends’ activity, which to me resembles a RSS feed feature.
- The new Email approach is very welcomed in my opinion. I really found the process of opening private messages on Facebook tedious. I do have to admit that the new email system reminds me very much a Gmail mobile experience. I want to dare and say that Facebook is heading toward taking a slice of the Email market, and to be honest I think they have a great advantage if they decide to do so. In the future, I will not be surprised if your new Facebook email address would look like this: Username@facebook.com. Hmm, did anyone say Email Marketing? This will open a great debate in the Inbound Marketing community.
- Another proof that Facebook is turning into a Social Media Hub is their plan to upgrade its photo service. Upload photos, and creating new albums on Facebook is also a tedious process. This process is coming to an end, and soon we will all experience a new way to share and upload photos to our Facebook account (installing a plug-in is required). I am not going to go into details, but it is very much similar to the Flickr service
- The Chat application had also received an upgrade, and a big one too. By shifting it to the left side column, Facebook is saying that they want us to pay attention to it. What you see is a list of some of your online friends in the left-hand menu. This list is not comprehensive, but includes people who you communicate with frequently. I think Facebook has bigger plans than we actually think. I will not be surprised to see in the near future some sort of a Mobile interaction, the same one we saw in Google Voice, and Skype.
The list goes on and on, but suffice it to say that Facebook is slowly shifting itself to become the biggest Social Media Hub in the Online sphere, or at least is trying to, and it will be interesting to see how things will develop in the year 2010.
What do you think? Do you think Facebook can become to Social Media what Google is to Search?