Facebook has announced a new feature for the News Feed.
Now, when multiple friends post about the same topic, Facebook will group those posts together in the News Feed. It's a small change, but it's one that may organize the feed, which some complain has become too cluttered.
"You may notice some of your News Feed stories are now grouped together by topic," Facebook wrote in the brief announcement. "We want to show you the most relevant and interesting information, and this test is designed to show you trends among what your friends are saying."
Inside Facebook notes that posts are grouped automatically, even if users forgo Facebook's tagging option, which lets the author of a post hyperlink to another Facebook page when adding an @ before the page name. Now, users have only to mention the topic of interest in a sentence, and Facebook will link back to that topic's official page.
"The 'Posted About' news feed story shows that Facebook is using natural language processing on status updates to perform named entity recognition," Inside Facebook writes. "It will help users determine topics that are trending amongst their friends, and help the Pages representing these topics gain more fans."
Read Write Web sees advantages for brands: "If brands are active in how they use their pages, there is a good chance they could ensnare a couple of users' posts within the topic grouping, which should increase Likes, time spent on page and interactivity.
Take a look at the News Feed update (below).
LOOK: [via Facebook]
The Wall Street Journal recently predicted that Facebook would introduce some changes to the News Feed, but its forecast indicates that larger changes may still be on the way. Writes WSJ:
[...]Facebook engineers are working to create an unfiltered News Feed that would open the floodgates of information about users and the games they win, the companies they "Like" and the actions their friends take, said people familiar with the matter. [...] Facebook is also working on expanding its "Like" button to include other gestures that marketers and third-party developers can create, said these people. Consumers could share information about the products they want to buy or the places they want to go, for instance.
Whatever else Facebook has in store, the company may table the announcement until its F8 developers conference (to be announced), according to the Journal.
CNET speculates that users may finally get a "Dislike" option to complement the social network's ubiquitous "Like" button.
In the comments (below), share your opinion of the News Feed grouping feature. What other changes do you think Facebook is planning for the News Feed?