Facebook colonized the internet with its Like button that sees 10 billion views per day around the web. Now it’s getting a makeover for mobile alongside the launch of two new Save and Share Chrome extensions that let you capture content from any site.
Together, these updates should help fill the News Feed with news stories from around the web, and turn Facebook into a more full-fledged Read-It-Later service that competes with Pocket. By rooting itself deeper into people’s browsing habits, Facebook can ensure its value grows even when you’re elsewhere. And the new buttons should fuel ad targeting while pulling in more content for Facebook to show ads next to within the feed.
Getting more likable on mobile
Until now, the Facebook Like button actually lacked the iconic Thumbs Up seen on its site and app. By modernizing the design to switch from the Facebook “f” to the thumb, Facebook bet people would recognize the button better. Indeed, 30 percent of Like button impressions come from mobile, where it’s rendered small and could be harder to identify. Testing showed the redesign boosted Liking by 6 percent, so Facebook is rolling it out to everyone.
Facebook is also updating the design for the rest of its Share, Send, Follow, Recommend and Save buttons. They’ll have improved color consistency, use a refined flat button design that fits better with modern mobile operating system styles and show Like and Share counts inside the button.
Instant Articles will now be able to sport the new Like, Comment and Share buttons at the bottom of posts, with clicks properly aggregated into the total Like and Share counts. And if sites use the Facebook Comments Plugin, they’ll get comments mirrored between Instant Articles and the traditional web versions so the conversation flows across formats.
Developers can visit Facebook’s button configurator to select the right size and implementation for them. They won’t necessarily have to do anything, though, as the buttons’ designs will update automatically and are backwards compatible.
One of the most essential parts of Pocket’s popular Read-It-Later service is its Chrome extension. By giving you a button you can always hit to instantly save an article, it lets you browse the internet without worrying if you don’t have time to consume something you discover.
The new Facebook Save Chrome extension will bring the same capability to the Save feature Facebook launched in 2014, and which has quietly grown to 300 million users per month. This way, you can visit Facebook to find a list of articles you’ve saved and easily return to them. It essentially acts as a cross-device bookmarking and reminder system.
Facebook tried to get websites themselves to integrate a Save plug-in back in April at F8, but it seems to have decided it makes more sense for the user to install the Chrome extension.
Once added, just click the Save icon in the top right of your browser, then access your Saved content from Facebook’s homepage or More tab bookmarks. You’ll also see a reminder list of recently Saved content in the drop-down confirmation that you Saved something new so you can instantly visit those sites.
Facebook is also making it easier to share any site to the News Feed even if it doesn’t have a Share button built-in. The new Share Chrome extension can be clicked from your Chrome’s browser bar to open a News Feed story composer.
By improving its colonies around the web, Facebook will be able to show it can drive more referral traffic to publishers. This is turn makes them more likely to pour effort into publishing through Facebook Pages and Instant Articles, integrate its social plug-ins and buy Facebook’s ads. Whether the Facebook buttons are in the sites you visit or the browser you visit them on, they serve as a constant reminder to go back and check out what friends are doing on the inescapable social network.