Facebook is slowly rolling out a mobile interface change that lets you Like or comment on posts with a single click, I discovered this week and the company has confirmed. By making it quicker to Like, Facebook will be able to gather more data to refine its feed sorting algorithm while making content consumption faster and arguably more enjoyable. Previously, you had to tap a ‘+’ button beside posts to reveal separate Like and comment buttons, but soon all users will click on different sides of a combined Like / comment bar to leave feedback.
Sure, this is a subtle change, but it will affect over 110 million iPhone and Android users every day, plus everyone who visits m.facebook.com. With its rich-media feed stories, streamlined feed reading will help Facebook compete with Twitter’s inherently less exhausting text-only mobile feed.
Honestly, I find the combined Like / comment bar kind of ugly, but it’s already getting me to Like more posts. I only have to pause my voracious feed scrolling for a split-second to Like a funny quip or pretty picture, rather than having to interrupt my flow to open the feedback controls. It makes me more likely to leave feedback on Facebook than on Path where I need to choose between emotions, or Twitter, where I have to click through or slide open a post to favorite, reply, or retweet. These Likes will trigger more notifications that inspire return visits.
Beyond the improved user experience, more Likes mean Facebook’s EdgeRank news feed sorting algorithm can more quickly learn what and who you want to see more of. The lack of this data prevents Google+ from properly promoting and hiding posts in its feed. Vic Gundotra yesterday said this was preventing G+ from opening an API to let third-party apps post, which is partly responsible for a lack of content on the search giant’s social network.
With the barrier lowered and no limit to how many Likes can be doled out, you can show gratitude far and wide.