Having turned 6 years old Thursday, Facebook unveils yet another redesign, tweaking the home page to display more of the core features and settings in one single place.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
The popular social-networking site has tweaked its home page yet again. This time around, the redesign puts more of Facebook's core features and settings right on the home page. The goal is to spare users from having to jump from one page to another to access their favorite features.
The redesign was rolled out to the first group of users on Thursday, Facebook's 6th birthday. As of Thursday evening, 80 million out of Facebook's 400 million customers should have received the new home page, according to Inside Facebook.
The top menu of the Facebook home page now displays icons for requests, messages, and other notifications. The icons turn into red bubbles when you've got new requests waiting for your attention. Just click on one of the icons, and a drop-down menu appears showing you all the items in that list.
The right side of the top menu now displays links that take you home or to your profile page. A new account menu lets you quickly access your account settings, help center, and related pages.
In the middle of the top menu is a new search field, through which you can find names, subjects, and other items of interest. Type the name of a friend, for example, and you'll find recent posts, photos, and other content for that person. Type the name of a subject, such as Haiti earthquake, and you'll also find groups and pages devoted to that cause.
The left side of the new home page offers links to your news feed, messages, friends, and photos. But there's a twist here as well. Click on the Friends link, and the Friends page pops up in the center. Click on the Photos link, and your own photo albums and those of your friends appear. The center of the home page essentially stays the same by displaying your news feed, though you can now bounce between top news and most recent news.
But a home page redesign isn't the only thing on Facebook's mind. The company is reportedly also ready to jettison its internal e-mail program and replace it with a full-featured Web mail application, according to TechCrunch.
Known internally as Project Titan, the new e-mail effort could please many Facebook users who have complained about the limitations and clumsiness of the current e-mail feature. TechCrunch says the new e-mail system will support both POP and IMAP, so you can use it outside of Facebook. You'll also be able to set up your ownFacebook vanity URL as your address, for example, email@example.com.
No word yet on when the Titan will be launched to the public.