Facebook's New Timeline and "Social Wifi"

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    Photo Credit: Michael Comiskey/Flickriver

    Some of you might have experienced a change in the Facebook layout recently. Do not worry it is only about a temporary phase – or maybe you are amongst the first to see how Facebook will change.

    Facebook is testing a new Timeline format, which will include a single column of posts as Inside Facebook reports. Next to the single column one will find the an activity module – a narrow space for displaying any activities. The change might have resulted from the reason for previous complaints about the two-column layout, which left some users frustrated and confused. Also, the change brings about a different layout in a way that users will find a broader space for “Recent Activity”, “Friends” and “Places”. Facebook also confirmed that this test has affected only a few number of users, but has not provided further information. Furthermore, I wonder how it will affect the tablet layout as currently there is a chat space on the right side. (This division between platforms also reminds me of the targeted ads and promoted posts Facebook is displaying to me whenever I check in on a tablet or mobile. These two categories are- similarly to Tumblr’s promoted ads – what we might encounter but there are differences.

    Promoted Posts are not bought through the Facebook Ads marketplace, and through the promote button on pages instead. These are not ads exactly, but a way to ensure that your posts are seen by more people. However, because they are not bought through the ads marketplace, they do not have the same targeting options. They can only be shown to existing fans and friends of fans, and page owners should think about targeting the initial page post to a narrower audience than all fans.

    Photo Credit: Inside Facebook

    Another recent Facebook test is happening right now: the company is offering free Wi-Fi for check-ins to help local businesses. Facebook is supplying routers though businesses need to supply the connection. After you log in, you first meet the place’s Facebook page; this way local businesses are able to track down the likes. Mind you this might not turn out to be a bigger project, as Inside Facebook warns us they have been notified about this test having begun as a hackathon project. Moreover, it should be noted that a similar service exists that is provided by HotspotSystem. Their service is called “Social Wi-Fi” – (please note the hyphen) – but Facebook denied being related to that company.

    Inside Facebook reports:

    Facebook confirmed to us in a statement, “We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page.”

    What do you think about these new testings? Are you content with Facebook’s current layout?