Facebook has finally redesigned Events so you don’t miss another party, birthday, or cool get-together your friends are going to. Today the site launches the Events Calendar so you can see what coming up weeks in advance, and a List view that highlights each day’s birthdays, RSVPs, and suggested events (though these links won’t work until you get the rollout.
The redesign started as a Hackathon project a year ago and will replace the old Events for all users over the next few hours. You’ll access the new look the same as before, through the” Events” link in left-side navigation menu of your home page.
Maybe Google+ launching a high-tech Events feature lit a fire under Facebook. In any case, the new Facebook Events straight up works without getting too flashy or complicated.
Facebook Events has become the defacto way people organize parties with friends and promote shows at clubs, concert halls, and art galleries. Yet beyond a few improvements to the event wall and invites system, plus the launch of the awesome Suggested Events tab, the feature has largely looked and worked the same for years.
In fact, Facebook boosted the need for this redesign awhile back when it started only showing the current day’s birthdays on the home page, instead of those coming up over the next few days. That meant if you happened to not log on, you could forget to post well wishes on a close friend’s wall — an emergent behavior that’s become so prevalent, it’s essentially a social contract now.
Rather than having to scroll down through each upcoming event’s title to see ones in the future as before, Calendar View lays out all your RSVPs in front of you on a set of giant grids. Events and birthdays are listed in each day’s box, and can be hovered over or clicked through for details.
Upcoming months can be seen by endlessly scrolling down. Any pending invitations are shown at the top alongside buttons for accessing past events. In an nifty little extra, if you’re tagged in a photo or check-in at an event, those will show up in that day’s box too.
Here you’ll see a day-by-day summary of birthdays, events you’ve been invited to, and Suggested Events based on what your friends are attending, what’s going on at venues you check in at, and events hosted by Pages you Like. Little calendars on the left assist with navigation. You can respond to invites and leave birthday posts on friends’ walls all in-line so there’s no need for constant jumping in and out of windows.
For those who get way too many invitations, you can now one-click an ‘x’ next to an event to delete from your list. Meanwhile a gear in the top right lets you view a dedicated list of your invites and export your events to Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar.
And as a cute added bonus, Facebook now shows the actual date in the Events icon, rather than constantly showing “31″.
A deeper integration with Facebook Photos would certainly be appreciated at some point. Compared to the new Google+ Events’ “Party Mode” that lets attendees set their phone to automatically upload photos to the event page, Facebook’s feature seems low-tech. I’ve got a hunch a deep Facebook Events-Photos integration is in the works.
Overall, though, today’s update will be great for people with busy social lives and the most considerate of us who’d hate to miss even one friend’s birthday.
Facebook is often derided for alienating us by putting up digital barriers between friends. I disagree. Thanks to Facebook Events, even if you have some zany idea for a get-together or party that only 5% of your buddies would be interested, in minutes you can have a date to hangout live and in-person with dozens of friends. That’s something you couldn’t do with snail mail, telephone, or even SMS. This network truly is social.