Facebook is engaged in limited testing of a new feature known as the "Happening Now" sidebar.
As one might infer, the beta sidebar alerts offers comprehensive status updates in real-time, including
what their friends are sharing, who they are "friending," along with other status updates in real-time.
The real-time sidebar is part of Facebook’s move towards instant social networking, emphasized by past previously launched features like real-time commenting. The Happening Now toolbar sits to the right of a user’s newsfeed and scrolls through updates in real-time, automatically refreshing.
The feature also shows how users are interacting with brands. For example, it may say "Lydia has just liked TG Daily," much like the regular news feed.
But what’s really cool about the feature is that users can see how their friends interact within Facebook without having to navigate away from the main newsfeed.
In the preliminary phase of the rollout, there does seem to be some duplicate information between the News Feed and the Happening Now tool bar. For example, if one friend posts a link, you will see it on both segments. Perhaps Facebook will work to limit the amount of duplicate information further down the line.
Of course, one of the coolest applications for the new feature is that it displays friend check-ins in real-time.
Facebook posted on its blog, "We are currently testing a feature within News Feed that gives people the ability to see what their friends are commenting on and 'liking,' as these actions are being taken on Facebook. This test includes a small percentage of Facebook users, just a fraction of a percent. In the coming weeks, as we learn more from this test, we’ll keep making improvements and may expand it to more people."
(Via The Next Web)