Facebook gets a face-lift

21 Jul 2008

Social networking phenomenon Facebook is to undergo an ambitious redesign aimed at putting users firmly in control and to counter spam and other dangers.

The redesign, which will go live today, was originally tipped to go live during the middle of last week but API problems curtailed this.

Facebook told application developers who want to take advantage of the redesign to have their new apps ready by yesterday evening, “so that users’ first experience with your applications on the new profile will be a great one.”

New features on the redesigned social networking include a new menu bar; the mini-feed and wall are now under the wall tab; profiles will feature a new ‘bio’ box; and users can completely rearrange tabs for their wall, info, photos and apps.

In addition, users will be able to add new and extra tabs and they can use webcams to take a photo or record a video and then post on the wall.

Greater control over tabbed pages will allow users to share aspects of their lives with select groups of friends.

A key aspect of the redesign will be to curtail the tendency of applications developers to use viral apps that violated users’ privacy and more often than not ended up cluttering a profile. Instead, a better design is envisaged to encourage greater relevancy and immediacy.

Since being launched by Mark Zuckerburg in 2004, while he was a student at Harvard, Facebook has become an unstoppable internet phenomenon with more than 80 million users worldwide, 100,000 of whom are in Ireland.

Last year, Microsoft paid US$240m for a 1.6pc stake in the company, valuing it at an enormous US$15bn.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years