In Menlo Park today, Facebook unveiled a new look for the newsfeed that everyone hated so much and then grew to love because, really did we have any other choice? The new look is "mobile first," or in other words: it looks exactly like the Facebook app on your smartphone or tablet: Pictures are bigger, shared links get bigger previews, apps have icons, "suggested stories" will get shoved in the middle there somewhere and some portion of your friends will probably be confused by it for the next few weeks.
The overhaul is the biggest update to Facebook in years, and the first that hasn't been mildly creepy or completely behind the scenes. Per the official copy on Facebook's announcement the new feed will bring you "bright, beautiful stories" and "vibrant new visuals" that have been "reimagined to put the spotlight on what your friends are sharing." Or as Zuckerberg put it today, it's like "a newspaper." A newspaper made up of your frenemies' status updates and ex-girlfriend's new photos that you can never stop scrolling through.
On the other hand, the cleaner look belies a dark side. Facebook engineers know bigger photos mean more engagement — it's why posts with visual elements already show up more prominently in your news feed. So, as Gizmodo points out, bigger photos and stories mean bigger slots for bigger ads. Think: billboards instead of flyers. The same update that's going to put all your party photos front and center will also blow up in-feed advertisements. In today's announcement, Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox confirmed that the only change to ads in the feed will be their size — you will be able to hide them as you do now, but they'll look more and more like the rest of the content your friends are sharing.
Anyhow, the new News Feed will be rolled out to users in the coming weeks. If you want to get a jump on your friends — which is really the whole point of Facebook anyway — you can sign up for the wait list here.