When you want to fine tune the news you receive, Facebook has a couple of new answers for you.
The Notify app keeps you up to date with world events—or at least the sports scores most important to you. And for those interested in a little less pain from a recent romantic break-up, Facebook is testing tools to help out—just in time for the holidays.
Notify: Same content—different way to consume it
Free at the App Store, Notify was developed by Facebook to push notifications directly to your lock screen. Without a tap or a swipe, you can glance at what is new from the content providers you choose. Scores, news, weather, event updates—even a daily meditation—pop up to keep you on the cutting edge.
Like most Facebook features, the Notify app is user friendly, allowing you to easily share, store, or browse recently received notifications. Referring to publishers as “stations,” Facebook has developed a substantial list of content providers for Notify. Just a few publishers include:
- The New York Times
- Fox News
- Comedy Central
- The Verge
Notify is an intermediary service—if you are interested in content, a tap takes you through to the publisher’s mobile website, not to Facebook, to read the news. Perhaps testing the continuing value of push notifications, Facebook is making itself a player in aggregating bits from publishers, and making valuable content partners along the way—but not really treading new ground for the platform.
Notify may be a bid to better define content delivery. Search engines once offered powerful access to sought-after news, products, and information. Now, mobile Facebook users can follow, subscribe, and set up push notifications from vendors on their own—even though many users are tuning out the push notifications they already receive.
The popularity of this app will speak to whether consumers are looking for more ways to receive content of interest to them. In the meantime, if you are looking for a convenient place to see and stash your favorite bits—Notify may be an app for you. Right now, the app is only available for iPhones, but a good guess is that Notify availability will be expanded soon.
Facebook makes breaking up a little easier to do
Breaking up, divorcing, or even parting ways with a former friend is tough to do on Facebook. Sure, you can always unfriend the party in question, but many find that, well, unfriendly.
Recently Facebook rolled out new mobile tools to use when a change in circumstances means a change in your relationship status. The tools give you choices about how much of your former significant other you want to know about going forward. You can limit their visibility, name, photographs, updates—and untag yourself where needed.
Breaking up and moving on is never easy—but it is easier to do without constant reminders. Plus, there are good reasons why you might want to minimize contact with someone else without unfriending them. Facebook is currently testing the features only in the United States, and only on mobile.
Whether waiting for news from a favorite, or avoiding news from an ex-favorite, Facebook is keeping it interesting.
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