Monday, March 23, 2009

Facebook Getting Better, Slightly Worse, Better, Better

Robert Scoble has summarized the Facebook redesign very well:

My former boss, Jim Fawcette, used to say that if you asked a group of Porsche owners what they wanted they’d tell you things like “smoother ride, more trunk space, more leg room, etc.” He’d then say “well, they just designed a Volvo.”

People fundamentally do not like change. People also do not recognize that a product always has compromises. A product that never changes is going to die, and a product without compromises will never ship. I admire that Facebook is willing to experiment and push its technology forward even if it has drag its customers along. There was a similar outcry about the newsfeed to begin with, which is what everyone now is wishing worked the way it did when they originally complained about it!

The new realtime newsfeed is far from perfect. It really needs a thumbs down/thumbs up feature, for example. Just because I don't want to see a friend's constant quiz results does not mean I don't want to see photos they are tagged in or what videos they have rated. It is definitely prompting people to organize their friends into lists so that they can filter the newsfeed down to different circles of friends depending on their mood.

All in all, congrats to Facebook for experimenting and pushing social computing forwards. I am certain they will continue to tweak the experience and also add new features. Pushing the envelope like this is what a startup is all about and fortunately for everyone who uses it (all 180 million of us), Facebook still thinks like a startup.

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