Facebook is currently testing multiple topic-based feeds on its Android and iOS apps. While the traditional News Feed will remain, it will be supplemented with secondary feeds like Style, Travel and Headlines. Alongside this feature, it may also be testing a marketplace feature called Shopping that will allow users to purchase items from within the application. The new features are being tested by a small percentage of users in the US, and is “far from being widely rolled out.”
The new feed automatically sorts posts and pages followed by a user into different sections, similar to Facebook’s Paper application. A spokesperson for Facebook told The Verge, “People have told us they'd like new options to see and have conversations about more stories on Facebook around specific topics they're interested in. So we are testing feeds for people to view different stories from people and Pages based on topic areas.”
It was reported October that Facebook has been working on a ‘Shopping’ feature, which would allow users to browse and shop for products from within the application. However, at that time, the feature was buried behind the main sections of the app. The new version of the feature on iOS displays the Marketplace icon in place of the Facebook Messenger icon at the bottom. The Messenger icon is moved to the top, next to the search bar – like it is presently in Android. Tapping the icon brings users to the shopping page where they can browse and purchase items sold by the pages liked by them.
Facebook is also testing its own digital assistant called ‘M’. Unlike other digital assistants like Cortana, Siri, or Google Now, M will be backed by real people working behind the scenes. Facebook says that this will allow M to do more complex tasks like buying items, making travel arrangements, booking tickets and more. The assistant will also take into account previous conversations, when answering queries and making suggestions.