Thanks to Facebook, soon you will have less of an excuse for missing your friend’s birthday.
On Monday, Facebook announced that it was going to update and redesign the notifications tab on its mobile apps to make it way more useful. Mobile notifications will now surface personalized information such as your friends’ birthdays and other important life events, as well as information about upcoming events you’ve joined.
“We’ve heard feedback that people wanted to add important information that they can easily see, all in one place,” wrote product manager Keith Peiris on the official Facebook blog. “Along with your notifications, you can see and customizetimely info.” This update to mobile notifications will start rolling out to U.S. users on both iOS and Android starting today, according to Facebook.
Instead of a simple list, mobile notifications are now organized as “cards.” You can tailor or add more cards based on your Facebook activity and location. Previously, Facebook’s mobile notifications tab consisted of an ongoing list of updates in chronological order.
You might also get notifications based on the Pages you’ve liked. For example, if you like your favorite sports team or TV show on Facebook, you could see notifications on game scores or reminders that your show is on.
In addition, you can customize your mobile notifications and make them more useful if you enable your Location History on the Facebook app. Once the app knows your location, you will be able to see notifications pertaining to local events and news, weather updates and severe weather alerts, as well as movies playing near you or nearby restaurants.
The impact on you: The redesigned mobile notifications tab certainly looks like it will come in handy, especially if you use Facebook to keep track of your events. In a similar way, you might start keeping track of your favorite sports teams and TV shows.
However, as with other Facebook features, there’s a big trade-off between usefulness and privacy. To make the most out of Facebook’s new notifications tab, it seems you’ll have to enable location services, giving Facebook information as to your whereabouts. That might make some users hesitant to try the feature, even if it means not getting these new personalized, location-based notifications.
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Oscar writes about iOS, mobile culture and digital music. He also hosts 'The iPhone Show' from Macworld's San Francisco HQ.