Facebook’s revamped notifications and the challenge to Google

>> Note: I wrote a summary of this article for Fresh Egg, this can be found here.

Facebook has announced a revamped and personalised notifications tab coming soon to both the Facebook iOS and Android apps which not only improves the amount of information found within the tab, but could act more like a digital personal assistant.

The new notifications will show things such as:

  • Friends’ birthdays and life events
  • Your upcoming events
  • Today’s top sporting events and TV shows
  • Trending Topics

And if you let Facebook track your location history, you’ll also get:

  • Popular events nearby
  • Local weather and weather alerts
  • News shared locally
  • Nearby Places your friends may have visited or reviewed
  • Movies playing in nearby cinemas
  • Nearby places to eat — with links to their pages and reviews

Why is this big?

Although this is similar to Google’s Google Now app (which uses information from your Gmail, Google Calender, Google Maps and other tools to provide you with contextual personalised information), importantly, the new Facebook notifications will have the ability to give you the answers before Google does.

Why search on Google for the best places to eat near you, or what movies are on at the local cinema, when Facebook has already given you the results? Facebook’s new notifications give you useful information without you even needing to ask.

This could be huge, further taking attention away from Google, and increasing the need for the Google Now app to be promoted to those who already use Google’s services. Google are continuing to show Gmail results within your own search results (where appropriate) but Facebook will win this because the results are contextual, and do not require an extra three clicks to see.

The following quote from TechCrunch writer, Josh Constine, perfectly encapsulates the differences between the two companies and why, for now, they are likely to both be useful tools that exist in parallel:

“Google doesn’t know who your friends are, who you chat with, or what news you care about. Just like how Facebook doesn’t know what’s in your email, what directions you map, what you web search for, or what’s going on in your Android phone.

You can find a short video showing off the features from Facebook here:

With customer service, content hosting, built-in ecommerce, live-streaming video and now personalised search (alongside real-time search), this is all the more reason for your business to have an optimised page and continue to be active on the Facebook platform.

Oh, and if you’re excited by these new personalised notifications then wait until you experience Facebook’s M, which takes having a virtual assistant to a new level.


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