The Different ‘Faces’ of Facebook

Being an avid user of Facebook and frequently reading up on tech news and on software, I found out that there are a bunch of Facebook extensions and software out there that totally bring very different and new experiences to the table. So here are three that I’ve spent quite some time with. AndLet’s look at some of Facebook’s… different faces. Pun central! Click on the pictures to get a larger sized look.

Facebook Lite

This one is very simple. It’s officially from the developers of FB and it goes hand in hand with the regular FB. Simply typing in lite.facebook.com will allow you to access the site. And upon first glance you will notice that it is stripped down to just the absolute bare minimum. Using FB Lite is a real pleasure. Extremely minimal design, no annoying ads, no annoying Farmville invites, and everything is so simple to use probably a monkey could use it too.

As you can see, a rather naked but familiar Facebook.

Seriously, a monkey could learn how to use the simplified version of FB.

The login screen is far more fun than regular login screen we're used to though. Who doesn't want vector balloons with icons on them?

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Facebook with Cool Iris

Cool Iris is a rather unique search engine that basically places photos from a variety of information sources (Google Image Search, Movie Trailer sites, Flickr) into a giant scrollable glassy 3D-wall, which is what everybody wants nowadays. It’s so futuristic. And Avatar-ly. If you would like to see how your own Facebook pictures look up on the Cool Iris wall, click here.

The 3D wall is adjustable to have up to 7 rows to accommodate for the volume of images in an album or photostream. It looks awesome when you begin to scroll quickly as the perspective changes and it looks like you're flying down an endless photo gallery.

Whenever words like “3D” and “graphics” are put together in a sentence a lot of people think, “oh I’m gonna need a pretty good graphics card for that” but it’s surprisingly fast even on my 2006 Dell laptop with negative 64 MB of graphics memory.

Selecting an image then brings the image into focus and a very smooth zoom animation. You can also use the up, down, back and left buttons to navigate through the images as well.

Working out how to get your FB photostreams to function with Cool Iris is a chore however… because on the Cool Iris website, there isn’t a way to login and access your Facebook profile to select specific photostreams. You need to access the Cool Iris plugin for your browser and figure it out from there. They’re probably developing FB functionality because I was on Cool Iris’ profile page and a discussion was to add Facebook functionality to their product.

However, it still boils down to being just a photogallery. You can’t add any input (write on walls, update statuses, etc) or receive updates or do anything aside from view pictures, and honestly the hype about it pretty much fades when you close your browser. 100% form. Not that much function.

It’s still a nifty thing that you can show to your luddite friends and watch them ooh and ah. But nothing will make your friends drool in amazement as much as the next FB extension item.

———-

Silverlight Client for Facebook

This is a nifty desktop program that totally gives the FB experience a much needed dose of awesome. The feature that impresses me the most with this FB experience is that it just looks outrageously good on any kind of screen. And the functionality is not compromised either. So this is a pretty good case of function being on par with form.

Major plus points include;

  • a nice glow effect on names when your mouse hover over it. The blue glow really gives it that hint of futurism;
  • thin and sharp fonts for increased readability,
  • the ability to sort your inbox messages by date, name or subject;
  • a very easy to follow layout that takes up all of your screen real-estate, allowing text and pictures to be significantly larger on the screen,

An interesting look at one of my photo albums. The album is scrollable so that all photos can be seen without having to click through pages. Pictures are attached with captions for easy reading, and comments on the album are easily visible on the right. Very good design as all information is accessible without having to navigate away from the page.

  • an interesting mosaic of the most recent photos of all your friends arranged very nicely on one screen known as the Photo Feed, as follows,

A very nice picture mosaic going on here. When you use this feature, hovering over any picture will bring up the name of the person who uploaded that picture.

This Silverlight for FB is definitely not an original-FB-killer though. Probably not yet, because the current Silverlight version for FB has plenty of missing features:

  • Lack of user search bar
  • No video capability
  • Inability to create/edit events
  • Inability to edit personal information directly from the program
  • Lack of FB Chat (big deal for a lot of people)
  • No Facebook pages/groups (although this may be a good thing since a lot of pages/groups nowadays are those groups with amusing titles that ring true to everyday life and by joining it make you feel just little bit more unique, like the following, “WAIT WTF? YOU LIKED ME? WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME I LIKED YOU TOO” and ““HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” is way more effective than “lol.”
  • No apps (also a good thing. GO AWAY FARMVILLE, MAFIA WARS, POKER WARS WHATEVER. GO AWAY)

———-

Anyway I guess I’m done with this post, and I’m sure there’s plenty of other applications that can access your Facebook information. FB for Adobe Air and Tweetdeck are both that I’ve tried in addition to the three that I’ve discussed. I didn’t want to include them on this list because I wanted to highlight my favorite three.

Facebook Lite // Cool Iris plugin download // Silverlight for Facebook

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