Facebook 6.0 arrives with Chat Heads, new iPad UI, revamped News Feed and stickers!

As promised, the new Facebook version 6.0 update has just dropped on the App Store, bringing out a number of new features such as Chat Heads borrowed from Facebook Home for Android, a redesigned user interface on the iPad focused on the new News Feed which was announced in March, stickers in chat windows and more.

Get downloading and read the following one-line disclaimer from Facebook before you jump straight to the comments:

“Chat Heads and stickers will be available to everyone over the next few weeks”.

There, it’s a staggered roll-out, you’ve been warned…

Check out the new Chat Heads and chat stickers on a pair of screenies top of post.

Now you can keep chatting even when you’re doing other stuff on Facebook, like checking your News Feed.

To reply to a message, just tap Chat Heads. You can drag them around or flick them down to close.

To add stickers to your messages, just tap the smiley icon. Some stickers are free and others can be purchased in the Sticker Store revealed upon tapping the basket icon.

This is the new News Feed layout on an iPhone.

Facebook 6.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)

And here’s what it looks like on an iPad.

FAcebook 6.0 for iOS (iPad screenshot 004)

At least it no longer looks like a blown-up iPhone interface, no?

“The biggest change is on iPad, where you’ll see brighter, more beautiful stories,” reads amedia release.

Indeed, you can now browse your News Feed by Music, Photos, Games and other categories.

Your release notes for Facebook 6.0:

Brand new ways to chat and a cleaner look for News Feed.

New for iPhone
• Keep chatting from anywhere in the app with chat heads
• Send stickers to bring your messages to life
• Explore new feeds like Music, Photos and Games

New for iPad
• Keep chatting from anywhere in the app with chat heads
• Browse brighter, more beautiful stories

Chat heads and stickers will be available to everyone over the next few weeks.

Facebook introduces new News Feed with larger images, choice of feeds and consistent mobile design!

IMG_7633

Today, Facebook revealed the latest update for its News Feed feature, something that CEO Mark Zuckeberg says that helps make you see and feel things that users will care about. He believes that it should be more like a personalized newspaper that allows you to not only give you the top stories in the news and also socially relevant and local content from friends and family around you.

The new design sets out to be focused on visual design. Zuckerber says it’s focusing on three things:

- Rich stories that are visually engaging

- Choice of different feeds and dig into any topic you want

- Mobile consistency that shares the same experience across different platforms.

Screen Shot 2013 03 07 at 1.11.10 PM1 730x412 Facebook introduces new News Feed with larger images, choice of feeds and consistent mobile design

Originally launched in 2006, the News Feed has become the central place where users find information about their friends.

 

Guessing about the future of News Feed

This news follows previous speculation regarding the future of Facebook’s News Feed — TechCrunch said that the social network would launch content-specific News Feeds, while also giving out bigger photos and ads. A clue to this stemmed from something Facebook CEO said during the company’s Q4 earnings call, as noted both by TechCrunch and Business Insider:

As our news feed design evolves to show richer kinds of stories, that opens up new opportunities to offer different kinds of ads as well…One of the product design principles that we’ve always had is we want the organic content to be of the same basic types of formats as paid content, right? So, historically, advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos and we haven’t provided those things historically. But, one of the things that we’ve done in the last year is you’ve seen the organic news feed product that consumers use moving towards bigger pictures, richer media and I think you’ll continue to see it go in that direction. And, I think that a lot of the success of products like Instagram is because of that. It’s a very immersive – even on a small screen, just – it’s a wonderful photo product.

Seeking to change

Last November, during one of Facebook’s periodic “whiteboarding” sessions, the company revealed some insights into why there are already two separate feeds for us to consume: the News Feed and the Pages Feed. The former is the place where users will go to find the most engaging content while the latter contains content that they may want to read from Pages that are liked or subscribed to. Expanding this line of thinking and revealing different News Feeds seems to be the natural progression for Facebook and its information.

Earlier this year, Facebook also tweaked the News Feed more by showing larger images and longer previews of links in an attempt to increase engagement.

Privacy concerns abound

It can probably go without saying that today’s announcement could rile up privacy advocates and there will be Facebook Groups and Pages popping up to rally users to quit Facebook over this privacy intrusion. Back in 2011 when the most recent News Feed changes were made, there were concerns that News Feed would give others access to the private posts of people users were not friends with, giving them the ability to Like a post or add comments to it.

Of course, Facebook has denied this claim, saying “Commenting or Liking a post doesn’t change its privacy setting. If you can’t see a post because of its privacy setting, it won’t show up to you anywhere on Facebook including in your News Feed or in your ticker.”

A new look for Facebook News Feed is coming next Thursday

Mark Zuckerberg (image 001)

Mark Zuckerberg & Co. on Friday issued invites to select members of the press to “Come see a new look for News Feed.” The media event takes place next Thursday, March 7, at 10am PST, at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. To our non-US readers: it’s an affluent town at the eastern edge of San Mateo County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the United States. This invite-only press conference comes less than two months after the company’s January 15 Graph Search launch event.

Facebook has some pretty rabid community so we’re expecting all sorts of backlash when the new News Feed goes live. The company recently updated its iOS client with in-app VoIP calling and a revamped News Feed, with the Like, Comment and Share buttons now found alongside the bottom of posts…

Here’s the invite graphics, via Business Insider.

Facebook presser (20130307, invitation)

Not much is known by way of detail except that a new look News Feed is coming.

Our guess?

The company wants to inject more ads into your News Feed.

A mockup by TechCrunch published on January 14, if true, depicts a Flipboard-like News Feed.

Next Facebook News Feed

Author Josh Constine swears he saw the updated software running on a smartphone with his own two eyes. The upcoming News Feed, he says, creates two separate feeds, each for a few different content types including news and photos.

Users navigate between them by swiping sideways on a photo that serves as a header tile filling the top quarter or so of a portrait layout iPhone screen. Below the header is a larger body tile that takes up most of the rest of the screen. From what I saw, it shows one story at a time, with text and who posted it laid on top of a full-screen image.

For example, instead of the screenshot above where most of the screen is taken up with white, blue, and gray chrome and empty space, the app looks like the mock-up below.

The mockup is Josh’s approximation from his memory so take it with a pinch of salt.

Facebook-owned Instagram earlier in the week announced it passed 100 million active users. The social networking giant also updated its iOS software development kit with better analytics, additional app usage metrics and improved APIs and has worked with carriers to roll out free or discounted Messenger access to 14 additional markets.

By the way, Facebook ranked 48th on Forbes’ Most Admired Companies list. Apple is #1 again and Twitter, which increasingly challenges Facebook, did not even make it into the top 50.