Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced three major changes to Facebook, emphasing the fact that the website is a social platform that you can bring connections you make on other websites and systems to.
There have been some small changes to some of the features that have been rolled out over the summer, including improving hi-res photos and launching Facebook Questions. Rumors have been flying around regarding the Facebook smartphone and Facebook/Skype partnerships, but today’s announcement was completely off any guesses about what the press conference was about. (More on Techland: Facebook May Be Getting a Facelift)
The first change deals with your personal information from Facebook. he “Download Your Information” function allows you to download the info you have on Facebook (photos, videos, posts and all) to your hard drive. Facebook will send you a handy email when it is ready, and you can use it as you like. Right now, Facebook Connect allows about 1,000,000 websites to access your personal information if you approve (a handy pop up window notifies you that Facebook Connect is trying to access your data for the website). This may allow you to send you Facebook profile to certain companies or save all your pictures and videos in a place offline.
The second change is a new dashboard called “Apps That You Use.” It shows you all the applications you approved and when they last used your information. It will show you what they are actually accessing as well so you can personally judge if that app is worthy of knowing your hometown and seeing your pictures. For example, in the demo Trip Advisor accessed someone’s hometown as well as his pictures. You still won’t know what they are using the data for, but at least you can see what they look at and how often. (It’s only for apps: Don’t worry, that person you are Facebook stalking won’t know that you’re accessing their page 30 times a day.)
The third update, and possibly the most important, has to do with trying to target specific people with the information you share on Facebook. Right now you can make lists (which only 5 percent of users use, according to Zuckerberg), and Facebook has already implemented an algorithm to basically create your lists for you in certain functions. (They use it in chat to show you users you are more likely to talk with and on which posts to featured your newsfeed). But, no one likes to a computer to predict who you should be talking to or keep seeing your ex-boyfriend’s posts on Facebook because they used to be the person you talked to the most. (More on Techland: Social Network: Celebrating the New Digitized, Democratized American Dream)
Introducing Facebook Groups, which was co-developed with a company called Hot Potato which Facebook just acquired . Platform Like Yahoo Groups or email chains, it is a public group where you can socially interact online and share your information with. Instead of emailing everyone in your family, you can just respond to it on Facebook. (If you don’t want to always be on your Facebook, you can also respond to your group by email.) Everyone can invite members, and Facebook hopes “social norms” will help people govern who deserves to be added to the group. People will see who invited each person, so if someone invited the boss to your worker group, you know who to message. Groups members can be seen by everyone in the group and/or everyone on Facebook, depending on privacy settings.
Developers will be able to see the group info as well. Groups can have their own events, Facebook walls and chat functions. If you want to ask your sister if she got home from that party last night in one piece, you can ask her on family group page and not get nagged by your parents that you aren’t keeping in touch with your siblings. (No word if she’ll respond since Mom, Dad, Grandma and Cousin Ed can also see her response as well.)
The announcement is ongoing, so you can watch it for yourself on Facebook Live.