Maybe they should just start calling it “TwitBook” because Facebook sure seems to be trying to adapt their interface to everything Twitter. Their latest redesign sees them making some changes to their Publisher tool (this used to be the status update box). Now, users can choose just how public (or private) they want their shared content to be. “Public” as in everyone — you don’t even have to be friends.
There actually still seems to be some confusion as to how public “Everyone” really is. Facebook doesn’t clarify the term on their blog. Some people are stating it means your content will actually be Google-able, others say it probably means just searchable within Facebook. You can also choose to feed your updates to friends, friends of friends, networks, or just certain friends.
The changes are there right now for people who had previously marked their info “public” and are supposed to be made available to everyone else in a trickle effect soon.
It’s pretty clear that a big hope on Facebook’s part with this latest move is that people will be more willing to update more on all fronts: to stream more videos, post more photos, and share more. Now that users can pick and choose who can see the info, they can decide to share certain bits and pieces with different people. They may want to talk tech with a certain crew and complain about their girlfriend with their guy buddies without her (or her friends) seeing it.
Facebook is also clearly emphasizing real-time information. Their developer blog stated yesterday that developers can take advantage of the live-streaming update boxes which were very similar to the one used by CNN during the Presidential inauguration in January. “With the Live Stream Box on your website, users log in using Facebook Connect and share updates that appear both within the Live Stream Box and on their Facebook profiles and in their friends’ home page Streams,” the post by Tom Whitnah explained. “Each post includes a link back to the Live Stream Box on your site so users can discover the live event and immediately join based on their friends’ recommendations.”
Much like how on Twitter people use hash tags (which are often planned and organized ahead of time so that people can follow a set topic), the Live Stream Box is being set so that users can comment at the same time on an event. It is also supposed to be very simple to create one of your own, which Facebook is hoping site owners and developers take advantage of.
“The Live Stream Box is easy to install and takes just a minute to set up,” the post stated. “To get the Live Stream Box on your website, get a Facebook API key, upload a small file to your website, and then embed a few lines of code into your Web page.”
While these are some interesting moves on Facebook’s part, they are still too Twitter-like for my liking. C’mon Facebook. Think of some of your own new stuff.