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A Better Facebook?

Recently, some friends and I were discussing the new photo viewer on Facebook. If you haven't seen it, Facebook presents photos in a layer above your time-line:

The new Facebook phot viewer. February 2011.

What I like about the new viewer: you can rotate photos the owner was too lazy to orient correctly. And, you don't lose your place in the time-line.

What I dislike about the new viewer: it requires more clicking to get to comments. As a UI/IA professional, I notice limitations like the usual difficult for many people to read light type on a black background.

If you don't like the new photo view, you can press the F5 key to switch back to the old interface. I have no idea how long this F5 feature will remain active.

During the online discussion via Facebook, some people said they like the new feature. Some didn't. One person suggested the Better Facebook browser (BFB) application:

"Can't recommend enough installing "Better Facebook." One of it's many fab features is it allows you to disable [the new photo viewer]."

I visited and briefly reviewed the Better Facebook website. (There's also a blog and Facebook page.) BFB works with the Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera browsers.

It's great that a person took the initiative and time to create this script. It's sad that Facebook doesn't officially support BFB. When a user goes to the effort to improve a company's website interface, that is usually a signal that many other users are similarly dissatisfied.

The BFB website does a good job of explaining what the app does (and doesn't do). It explains well its dependencies on the Facebook website. However, the lack of official support by Facebook means that bugs are inevitable with BFB.

I chose not to install the BFB app primarily because I could find any privacy or terms-of-use policy statements at the BFB site. Matt Kruse is probably a trustworthy guy, but I don't know him. While I realize that BFB is a one-persona operation, it's important to my identity information values to know exactly what any app will and won't do.

If there is a problem, these policy statements are what consumers rely upon to gain resolution with the app developer. Otherwise, it is the "wild, wild, west" and anything goes, including your sensitive personal information to wherever the app (hacked or not) decides.

What is your opinion of or experience with the Better Facebook app?

Comments

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Anonymous

This new move by Facebook in viewing the photos seem a little bit absurd for me. It can take you some time with this new feature. In fact, I am not happy with this but on the bright side, viewing photos has been amazing because you can have a larger view compared before. But no matter what these feature holds, and no matter if people will like it or not, Facebook is still amazing and will always be. Won't you agree?

Natacha

Did you read this page ? http://betterfacebook.net/faq.php#privacy

George

Natacha:

Thanks for the link. Yes, I briefly read the Better FB site before writing the blog post. I have no interest in continuing to read the BFB site, nor make Mark Zuckerberg and his crew richer. If they pay me for my time, then yes I would help them make a better Facebook.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

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