Facebook’s Recent Changes… A Love or Hate Deal

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You may have noticed some changes in Facebook. To some they aren’t new, to others, it was never noticed, to others, they may not have seen these changes yet. Oh yes, Facebook has a way of changing things around and leaving its users either in a peaked stage of curiosity and enthusiasm, or has sent them to numerous help threads pleading for a way to reverse changes.

Facebook’s changes can be good, bad, or ugly, but that is all up to the user. Let’s take a look at some of the recent changes.

We covered it at its launch, Facebook now has built in video chat which can be enabled by installing a small plug in. The performance is smooth, but weak in comparison to Google Plus which inherits the chatting abilities from Gmail that they integrated a long time ago. None the less, from a strictly Facebook point of view, it is a harmless update that can be practical if you use it.

Facebook also took the time to update chat. This can be seen as a blessing or a curse. If all functions right, you will have a sidebar with your ‘most talked to’ contacts and the ability to group chat.

imageIt is a good thing that Facebook still has the ability to display all of the contacts that are currently online on the left hand side of the screen because otherwise, you would be left in the dark as Facebook decides who you see – available or not – and disregards the rest and tells you to search for contacts. All in all, the side bar is annoying and doesn’t even scroll. half of the time, my side bar list is half empty and the bulk of my contacts whom I do speak to are not even in the side bar.

The best use for the side bar is hidden and let the old chat menu be used on the left hand panel of Facebook.


Group chat isn’t available for everyone. Group chat will only be available when users get their new inbox. If you haven’t noticed, or or didn’t know a change was coming, be forewarned.

However, the changes to the Messaging system are welcomed. Not only do you get a Facebook email address, you can send attachments with your email that could be anything from documents to installers to pictures, you name it!


Another change is that Messages can be used to chat with someone who is on a cell phone and is using SMS. Check the cell phone box and the recipient gets a text and can respond via text and voila…


If the person you are trying to reach isn’t on Facebook, don’t worry, you can send the message anyway and their reply will be sent to your Facebook inbox.

You may or may not have the new Facebook messaging system, but it is trickling its way down the list of Facebook users by invite as priority followed by all of you – whether you like it or not.

Another thing to note about Messages is that if you chat with someone – or a group – the conversation in chat will synchronize in Messages as part of the conversation history.

If that wasn’t enough, here is a feature that has been around for a while, but probably not noticed.

Comment with a link and a dynamic preview will appear – like the one that you get when you publish a link to a wall. While you have no control over what happens, you can remove the preview. To share videos and pictures, you use the link of the video or picture and it will embed itself in the comment to make the conversation more engaging. Imagine watching a YouTube Video in a Comment.

This is one feature where Google Plus will need some work because it currently doesn’t have it. While the overall look and feel of Google Plus in the stream is great, the UI doesn’t follow through in Pictures and Video mode where there is no reply comment and there is no +1 button to be found. Commenting on a link is also plain, just like in the old Facebook – Google may want to duplicate the Stream status editor for its comments as well.

Apart from chat, Messages and the embedded links and videos in comments is where Facebook outshines its Field Trial competitor. Facebook has been changing over time and will continue to over time. It is now a matter of whether you accept Facebook’s changes, opt for Google Plus or hit the Facebook Help forums hard and fast!

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