Change does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, but when you look around in forums and on sites like Reddit when companies like Facebook, Google or Microsoft announce upcoming changes of core products, you will notice that the companies usually get criticized by a vocal part of the user base for it.
Facebook today announced that it will change the Facebook Messages page on the site and it is definitely a change that users need to get used to at first. The current Facebook Messages page displays all messages sorted by the last message date and friend. You do not see the total number of messages on the page, only the total number of unread messages.
Facebook's new Messages page will use a two column layout instead of a single column layout. You see all of your friends that you have contacted or that have contacted you on the left, sorted by the date of the last message. Here you see their profile photos, names, additional recipients and the date of the message.
The right side displays all messages of the currently selected Facebook friend. The core benefit here is that you can simply click on each friend listed on the left to display the conversation on the right, without having to go back and forth between the index page and the actual messages. Photo thumbnails and emoticons are displayed directly here as well for easier access.
And if you like to use the keyboard for navigating the messages, you benefit from new keyboard shortcuts that let you do that. The announcement over at Facebook's Newsroom does not reveal the shortcuts unfortunately, only that you should type Alt-Q to get a list of shortcuts if you are using a PC, or Control-Q if you are working with a Mac.
The blog post claims that search has been improved as well, but I can't really see a difference between the current search functionality and the new functionality.
It is not clear yet when the changes are going to roll out to all users of the social networking site. The announcement states that Facebook is introducing the new features today, so maybe it will happen later today.
What's your take on the new messages interface?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.