Facebook Revamps Notifications Tab to Make It More Useful

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Begins Rolling Out Revamped Notifications Tab On Mobile.

As Facebook continues to pack in more and more kinds of content into your feed, it’s only natural it helps you better filter through what you care about more.The social network announced today it was rolling out the updated feature after requests from people to see things like friends’ milestones and birthdays in their notifications. “With this update, your current notification settings will not change, and you can adjust those any time in your Settings,” explained Keith Peiris, Facebook’s product manager in a blog post . “We’ll continue to listen to feedback about the information people find most useful and may periodically add more cards to choose from,” Peiris wrote. Just like how Facebook doesn’t know what’s in your email, what directions you map, what you web search for, or what’s going on in your Android phone. That little tab plagued by a tireless numeric red badge that led to an endless feed of social happenings is getting a much-needed upgrade that really heightens its utility.

The update, which is rolling out gradually across iOS and Android for users in the United States, introduces a new set of “cards” into the space once reserved for your friends’ likes, comments, birthdays, and event invitations. The social network is already busy pushing out a new emotional expression system called “Reactions” which will finally allow moody social media users to easily hurl non-verbal abuse. The notifications tab is now more of a you-centric newsfeed than ever, sucking in some of the best widgets from the Facebook sidebar on desktop and giving notifications on mobile a much more structured appearance. Currently, users are only able to “like” content, which can look a little strange when someone is mourning the anniversary of their mother’s death or posting news of a massacre in a faroff land.

Now it’ll show you milestones your friends have noted, sports scores and TV reminders for Pages you’ve liked, and news about upcoming events you’ve joined. Despite Facebook’s FB 1.55% ongoing claim that its sophisticated algorithms filter each user’s News Feed to show them only content they want to see, Tuesday’s move is a tacit nod from the company that a cheat sheet that can be customized is needed. News gets broken up into multiple categories — you’ll see stories trending across all of Facebook along with stories shared frequently wherever you happen to live. Although the news has prompted excitement on social media, many Facebookers are disappointed Zuckerberg has not made good on an apparent promise to introduce a “dislike” button. What’s more, Facebook enables you to customize the notifications with whatever information you want based on your location, such as local news, weather, movie times, and nearby restaurants you might like.

As much as we enjoy spending absurd amounts of time scrolling through our seemingly unlimited New Feeds, sometimes we just need to be alerted when the things we really care about happen. With these “cards,” the company wants to give you more control over what notifications are important to you than what you’re able to get currently — you can already get birthday notifications, but now you can opt to receive when a friend posts a milestone like having a child, getting a new job, or moving to a new city/state right in a notification instead of having to cycle through your News Feed. It can pull relevant info like flight times and changes from your email, display breaking world news updates, or give you a heads up about traffic between your home and office. All of the notification options are opt-in, meaning that you can choose to be pinged if your favorite Page has made an announcement or shared a photo.

And let’s not forget the types of notices you can get if you have location sharing enabled and Facebook wants to pass along information about nearby businesses that may be interesting to you. Right now, for example, the sports scores you see are tied to which teams you have “liked” on Facebook — a step millions of us haven’t taken, and never will. Facebook did recently start testing M, a concierge feature that lets you use Messenger to send requests and chores to a hybrid system of human brains and artificial intelligence. But today Facebook launched what could be considered the closest thing it has to a traditional personal digital assistant inside the Notifications tab…it just didn’t name it. Previously customization in the FB app, whether in regards to notifications or privacy, has focused more on checkboxes of what is and what is not included.

But most people will stick with the defaults, and the result is a kind of secondary News Feed that (at least in the case of news and sports scores) carries much of the same information as the original. Notifications have traditionally been the place in a social app where you see the absolute most personally relevant information; by expanding what it sees as notification-worthy, Facebook may be diluting that. Facebook’s contextual assistant is built into the place people already spend so much of their time, whether they’re on iOS or Android: Facebook, and more specifically, Facebook’s notifications tab. And it’s not buried as just another option in the Facebook app’s “More” navigation drawer, where products like “Nearby Places” or the “Saved” read-it-later feature have been banished and forgotten.

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