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Facebook redesigns its News Feed, adds real-time updates

September 20, 2011 |  4:11 pm

Google tried to upstage Facebook on Tuesday with news that it was opening its social networking service Google+ to everyone.

Facebooknewsfeed But Facebook, which is planning to launch a new media platform and other major developments this week at its annual developers conference in San Francisco, is swiveling back into the spotlight.

As Facebook and Google step up their competition for eyeballs and dollars on the Web, Facebook is rolling out an updated version of News Feed that gives priority to important posts. If you haven't visited Facebook for a while, you'll see the top photos and status updates since you last logged in; if you log in several times a day, you'll see more recent news. The idea is to surface the information that matters most to you.

"Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper," Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager at Facebook, said in a blog post

Facebooknewsfeed2 Facebook is also introducing a real-time "ticker" that streams your friends' most recent activity and encourages you to chat with them about it.

"Ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously," Tonkelowitz wrote.

Quickly delivering the most important updates from friends is the goal. But comments to the blog post about these latest efforts were mixed, ranging from users complaining that the social network doesn't have the ability to judge what's important to them to users welcoming the changes.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Image: Screen shot of Facebook’s latest version of its News Feed. Credit: Facebook.

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