Fotofire's Weekly Review

We've made it to the end of another week. Here are some of this week's top digital stories, including new looks for two of the biggest social media sites in the UK. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Facebook News Feed gets a makeover

It's been expected for a while, but yesterday Facebook made an announcement regarding upcoming changes to their News Feed. According to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the site, the new-look News Feed will combine high quality content from reliable sources with stories from friends and family, in order to give everyone the best possible personalised newspaper.

The first aim of the redesign is to deliver richer stories. Images will be larger and higher quality, with photo albums also being improved. Profile images will also be larger. As well as this, when posting linked articles, the images will be much larger, the title more prominent and descriptions longer. Place check-ins will now include a detailed map, a location image and information on that place.

The second feature of the redesign is the choice of news feeds. A switcher at the top of the page will allow you to move between different kinds of feeds. All Friends will let you see every post by every one of your friends, whereas Music Feed will show you what your friends are listening to, and any news or information on your favourite artists. The Photo Feed will show you all the images your friends have uploaded.

And lastly, the redesign will be consistent across all platforms; the new look was actually inspired by the mobile site. Let us know what you think of the changes!

Apple to launch an iWatch?

Not content with their success in the computing and music technology industries, Apple are reportedly planning to redefine the humble watch, with a new product dubbed iWatch (of course).

The market for wearable technology is set to take off this year, with the launch of Google Glasses, so it makes sense that Apple would enter it. Apple haven't launched a radically new product since the iPad in 2010, so the pressure is on to come up with a new innovation as revenue from the iPod line begins to die down.

Apple wouldn't be the first to try this; Pebble watches already allow users to check emails, galnce over Facebook and Twitter feeds, see who is calling them, and even tell the time too! But if Apple were to launch a product in a similar vein, the market for wearable technology could explode.

A new look for Google +

While Facebook will no doubt get most of the attention, Google+ have also rolled out a few changes to their profiles and pages. And as with Facebook, visuals and images are the main point of focus.

Sara McKinley of Google said, 'We spend lots of time listening to your feedback, and today we're launching some profile and page updates that you've been asking for...Everything's rolling out gradually, so check back soon if you don't see it yet. Once it's live, let us know your thoughts in the comments!'

Cover photos will be bigger, giving you a bigger selection of images you can use. The extra space also allows your chosen image to shine. There will also be a new tab for your local reviews, so in addition to keeping track of photos, videos and +1's, there is now somewhere you can store all of your local reviews.

Editing your information will also be much simpler. The 'About' tab will consist of separate tabs of info, including your Story, Places, Education, Basic Information, Links and more. Each block will now have its own specific edit link.

Alcatel launch £1 mobile phone

When I worked abroad over summer, 10 Euro Alcatel Bic phones were the norm. Now they've gone one step further, launching a new mobile phone that costs just £1!

While you won't be able to check your Facebook or play any games, you'll be able to call and send texts from the Alcatel One Touch 232. For those who aren't bothered about having the latest smartphones, the phone also has an alarm clock, calculator, radio and 3.8cm colour screen.

You can buy the pay-as-you-go Alcatel model on prepaymania.co.uk on the 02 network. Sophie Evans, from the website, said that 'Not everyone wants the latest and most trendy phone. A lot of people just need a plain and simple mobile that allows them to make and receive calls and send text messages.

‘It’s a fairly simple phone and does all of the basics, it’s perfect for people that aren’t worried about having the best phone out there.’

Beck merges music with social media

The music artist Beck has released a new album, but you can't listen to it. At least, not in the traditional sense. Instead of releasing a regular album, Beck has released a book of 26 unrecorded songs on sheet music, and has invited fans to come up with their own interpretations of the songs (you can look at them here).

It's a very interesting and creative way of engaging fans, allowing them to collaborate with the process of creating music.

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