Facebook introduces live-streaming updates

Facebook is flipping the "live" switch on its home page

Facebook is flipping the "live" switch on its home page, sending your stream of friend updates into motion for the first time. Talk of a real-time stream started back when the new design first launched, but thus far, live-updating functionality had yet be implemented.

Facebook's Live Stream

The live, real-time stream means you won't have to hit refresh to see your latest updates and activity -- rather, the page will act as a user-controlled scrolling marquee, constantly notifying you as new information rolls in.

The service follows a real-time option rolled out in social sharing site FriendFeed just last week. There, the change has divided users, with many complaining the constantly refreshing feed creates a sense of information overload.

In contrast to FriendFeed's configuration, in which live updates scroll automatically unless you hit a "pause" button, Facebook's new system will present an option for you to see incoming updates as they arrive via a top-of-page prompt. You'll have to click that notification for the new updates to appear -- something that may help cut down on motion sickness.

Facebook Feedback

Facebook's change comes as a direct result of user feedback: The site's initial redesign sparked a revolt of sorts, with millions calling for boycotts in protest of the retooled appearance. The addition of live updating, site representatives say, was one of the most common requests they received during that time period. As such, Facebook agreed to tweak the design accordingly.

Facebook's live update function will be rolled out gradually, so it may not appear on all accounts immediately but will be available to everyone in the near future.

Connect with JR Raphael on Twitter (@jr_raphael) or via his Web site, jrstart.com.

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JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
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