Thursday, September 22, 2011

Facebook to update itself yet again

So apparently there's some huge Facebook revamp happening tonight (Australian time) which is going to absolutely blow our minds. Of course, there's this from the article:
For Facebook, it all boils down to one problem: emotion. Facebook has hundreds of millions of users and spectacular levels of engagement, but it is a platform that has lost its emotional resonance over the years. More and more people visit Facebook out of necessity rather than desire.

Nice PR spin.

As I said in the comments in that article, the issue with Facebook isn't "emotion", it's trust. People don't trust Facebook. And with good reason. Their privacy record is poor, and then there's this stuff, where they diddle about with the interface comfortable in the belief that people are going to learn to like it no matter how much they complain initially (they're certainly not going to leave. Where would they go? Google Plus? Google currently has trust issues of its own...)

I thought I'd give a quick stab at what possible wonderful new features Facebook might roll out that would "make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could":

Video chat with friends: this handy feature will automatically make any webcam you have attached to your computer turn on when you start browsing Facebook, and the video feed will automatically be made available to all your friends who are online at the time. It’ll be an always-on feature initially, but there’ll be an option to turn it off (rumour has it the off switch will be under the “account settings->manage friends” option...somewhere...)

Dating suggestor (aka Stalker-Suggest): by simply taking the “interested in” profile setting of a user, checking which profiles of the relevant gender you’ve browsed but haven’t friended, and running a proprietary "face comparison" algorithm over the tagged photos in its huge photo database, Facebook will suggest people that it thinks you might find attractive, and who live nearby, whose profile and photos you might want to check out. Unfortunately a bug in the new feature will mean that any person who clicks the link to browse the suggested profile will find that they can see all the prospective date’s photos, even if they were initially privacy-locked.

I wonder the actual changes will be, if it's just going to be some sort of cloning of Google+'s functionality?

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