Facebook Gets Biggest Update in Years, Everything You Need to Know

September 21, 2011
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The News Ticker, which resides in the top right portion of your screen, feeds you live updates (like photo tags and comments) from around your network.

The updated News Feed is no longer split into a Top News and Recent News section. Instead, Facebook now populates your News Feed with recent updates and “stories,” featuring Top Stories (which have many comments) near the top of your feed.

Smart Lists, which reside inside your left sidebar, are basically micro-news feeds from specific groups of people. For example, Facebook automatically made us a Business Insider Smart List that only includes updates from people who work at Business Insider.

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You can create lists and add people to lists, but be mindful–if you do so, the person you add might receive a notification saying you’ve added them. This is a mistake Google+, whose Circles feature serves the same purpose, would never make.

There’s also a Subscribe feature, which sits in the top right of any Profile page. Click “Subscribe,” and you can populate your News Feed with the Public updates of people you aren’t technically “friends” with on Facebook.

As Gizmodo points out, each feature pretty much corresponds to a tent pole feature from competitors Google+ and Twitter.

There are some other slight visual tweaks (like a top bar that looks more like Google+), and Facebook hid the Poke button inside a drop-down menu for the first time ever.

This update represents one of the biggest updates we’ve ever seen from Facebook, whose much-hyped F8 Conference takes place tomorrow in California.

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