One of the biggest features on Facebook (News - Alert) is its "newsfeed" system, but this already popular tool is about to get a fresh coat of paint and a few improvements, which Facebook plans to show off at a media event later this week--March 7, specifically--at an event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
Facebook's newsfeed, at last report, hasn't seen a major update since September of 2011, so some might have said that it was about time there was a revamp to the design. The newsfeed, however, is regarded as one of the three main functions--"pillars," as they're called--of the service, matched only in importance by user profiles and search functions. That makes a proper retooling extremely important to the overall future of Facebook itself.
There's seemingly little word available in terms of what will be going into the revamp--those are likely secrets being held very close to the vest ahead of the media event slated for this Thursday--but it's being said that part of the move is coming to reconcile some of the key differences between the desktop Facebook experience and its mobile counterpart. Brian Blau with mobile research firm Gartner (News - Alert) is among those believing that the new Facebook newsfeed will likely be used as a way to bring the two experiences closer together.
This is the second such major rollout for Facebook this year, following an update in January that brought Facebook's social search feature out into play.
Facebook essentially operates amid two key problems: one, Facebook needs to keep users in play, but at the same time, also provide ways to make money from interactions with users to keep its shareholders happy. Should Facebook fail in either one of those fields, it has long-lasting effects for the company at large, mostly negative. Fewer users mean less attractiveness for advertisers. Weak ways to monetize that crowd in Facebook's favor means lower revenue, lower profits, and lower shareholder satisfaction.
That's what this move is likely out to help with; while Facebook has previously been seen making some impressive new moves to monetize its audience--mobile advertising platforms, mobile shopping, ticket sales and the like--it's also got to make moves to keep that audience, and keep new users coming in. The better job Facebook can do to preserve its user count, the better overall chance it has of making the necessary revenue to keep itself aloft.
It remains to be seen whether users will welcome--or revile--the changes Facebook plans to make. But Facebook is visibly trying to maintain its position in a world where change is often constant, rapid, and seldom in favor of companies who won't change along with it.
Edited by Brooke Neuman