About an hour ago, Facebook started rolling out the latest set of updates to the home page and News Feed. Along with the switch back to an algorithmically-chosen set of top stories from the real time stream, Facebook also just announced some important changes to feed stories and the feed APIs that developers should be aware of.
First, Facebook has reduced the number of images that can appear in feed stories by default from three to one. Instead, Facebook is now showing a “See More” link that will allow users to expand all three images in line. We reported a month ago that Facebook was telling developers to start using just one image because it wants app feed stories to look less “spammy” and more like Facebook’s own feed stories. Until now, some apps have been publishing three images in each feed item, each the maximum allowable size under the current specs, in order to get more clicks and attention in the stream. Starting today, the maximum size of images in the stream is also being reduced to 90×90 pixels.
Here’s how the old feed images looked:
And here’s the new feed images format:
In addition, Facebook said today that going forward, the only way to publish Feed stories into the stream will be through the stream publishing methods stream.publish, FB.Connect.streamPublish, and Facebook.streamPublish. Facebook says it will be deprecating support for the following APIs on December 20th, 2009:
- Template bundles (Facebook says, “You should start using stream attachments with the stream publishing methods instead)
- Facebook.showFeedDialog and FB.Connect.showFeedDialog
- Publisher stories that use templates (Facebook says, “please transition them to use stream attachments“)
- Feed forms that reference the feedStory form and the multiFeedStory form
- One-line stream stories
Finally, regarding the status APIs, Facebook says, “We will still publish stories that call users.setStatus and status.set, but encourage all developers to migrate to the stream publishing methods, as they let you set a user’s status easily.”