Facebook unveils redesigned News Feed

The new feed cuts clutter and provides a visually richer experience to users

Facebook is giving its billion users a completely new way to look at its site.

The company on Tuesday previewed a new version of its News Feed that cuts page clutter, highlights photographs and content from publishers, and allows users to browse their feed by subject.

"We're trying to give everyone in the world the best personal newspaper they can find," said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, during a news conference at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

The News Feed sits at the very heart of Facebook's site and defines the way users interact with the social network. Because of that, there's a lot riding on any tweak or change.

If Facebook gets it right, users will spend a longer time browsing the site, which could lead to more ad sales and higher revenue for the company. But if Facebook gets it wrong -- as it has done with several site changes in the past -- the result could be a cacophony of complaints.

The Facebook redesign comes a day after Google began making changes to its rival Google+ social network. The Google site added larger cover photos, made it easier to edit personal information and brought local and area-specific information under a single tab.

Google claims the site has 500 million users, which gives it half the user base of Facebook, but the site hasn't been able to generate the same buzz or high profile as Facebook.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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