3 new and handy tweaks to Facebook

What's new at Facebook? We've got a trifecta of new feature goodness rolled up in one spot.

Remember that wonderfully mysterious Facebook preview group that reared its head back in March? Well it's been gone since the launch of the platform, but new features and interface tweaks continue to make their way into the system piece by piece. Here are three of my favorites that have rolled out in the last few weeks. Several more, and a roadmap for future updates can also be found at: www.facebook.com/whatsnew.php.

Vote on news feed stories you link and don't like. Your preferences will change what you see without having to muck with any settings.

1. News feed voting. Like the potentially upcoming Google search results tweak we reported on a couple weeks back, Facebook's already put together a way for you to tweak what kind of stories you're seeing on the news feed. Results of tweaking the sliders aren't immediate. Instead, the company says the new feature learns your tastes and adjusts accordingly.

There was already a slider for this in the feed preferences page, but now you can simply tweak them on the fly by voting a piece of news up or down. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to do much for the sponsored posts that make their way onto your news feed, but it's a lot easier than having to navigate to the feed preferences sliders.


Now you can turn any shot into a profile picture. CNET Networks

2. Making profile pictures out of any shot. Originally you could only do this with shots you had uploaded as your profile pictures from the edit profile menu. Now you can do it with any shot you've been tagged in, regardless of whether you uploaded it or not. There's even a little crop tool to help you grab your face out of a crowd. It won't let you crop down a shot beyond a certain invisible threshold, but it's far better than having to save the file locally to make edits, or having to kick it out to a third-party service like Picnikor Fotoflexer.


3. Outside e-mails actually mean something. Facebook has finally gone about opening up their outside messages to anyone you e-mail. Previously, if you e-mailed someone with a message--be it a wall post, or private message, they'd get an e-mail facebook telling them your name and a link to go see it (which required signing in). Now you get the complete message without having to jump through the hoops. You still have to respond via Facebook, but there's a link in the e-mail that takes you straight to the composition screen. Unfortunately this doesn't work with their events service.

See also: 7 cool, unadvertised Facebook features, which includes an early version of the profile picture picker, albeit with a little less pizazz.

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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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