Meet Facebook's new News Feed

March 7, 2013: 2:35 PM ET

Facebook is customizing its news feed view - and that could eventually mean new types of advertisements for the social network.

By Kurt Wagner, reporter

130307143258-facebook-news-feed-620xbFORTUNE -- Facebook announced changes to its News Feed today that the company says will better personalize users' content. The updates feature larger posts and photos, making the feed more visual. The new feed, which will begin to roll out to some as early as today, also enables users to filter by category. For example, users will now be able to look at content strictly from their friends, people, or pages they choose to follow. Users will also be able to display content that meets a certain category, for instance, strictly sports or music-related material.

The new design is simpler and takes up a much larger portion of the screen -- it previously took up only about 40% of the screen. The new design is available on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook (FB), and users interested in trying out the new look can opt-in on the Facebook homepage. The new look is "a richer, simpler, more beautiful news feed," says Facebook's Julie Zhou, director of design.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was clear during the company's press announcement that the other purpose for the change is to provide users with a more personalized experience on the social media site. "What we are trying to give everyone is a copy of the best personalized newspaper in the world," he said at the company's Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters. This new design also more prominently features photos, which already make up roughly 50% of all News Feed content. Articles posted will include a larger image and a longer summary. When users list 'Places' alongside a status update or post, that information will also receive more prominence, including a larger map that spans the width of News Feed.

Facebook's announcement did little to address how the new feed may impact advertisements on the platform. In an interview last month with David Fischer, Facebook's VP of business and marketing partnerships, Fortune's Adam Lashinsky discussed the possibility of the site adding video advertisements to its content stream: "We're certainly looking at it," said Fischer. "What we want to figure out is the intersection of what users will love and what marketers could love, and if we can find that then it's something that we could certainly consider doing." Ads currently on the site will simply be incorporated into the new design along with other News Feed content, according to Chris Struhar of Facebook's News Feed team.

Facebook's announcement came just one day after Google (GOOG) announced redesign changes to its profile pages, including larger cover photos and a new tab for local reviews.

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