Facebook keeps changing and changing. Every month or so, users enjoy (or deal with) a new change in Facebook’s interface. While some people are really excited about the recent Timeline profiles, others are still ticked off at things like the news ticker and the chat sidebar.
Another thing Facebook keep changing is the way we view images. While Photo Theater keeps improving and is no longer a major source of agitation to Facebook users, and while thumbnails keep growing, some people are still looking for an easy and quick way to view images in full size.
If one or more of these things are bothering you, I’ve rounded up some Chrome extensions that are sure to make you a happier Facebook user.
Facebook Classic is a Chrome add-on for people who dislike the new ticker, but want to be able to easily toggle it on again. It also gets rid of the new top stories and arranges the newsfeed in chronological order again.
After you install the add-on and refresh Facebook, the news ticker will disappear completely, leaving only the bottom half of the sidebar with the chat. You’ll also see the “Latest Stories” header instead of the “New Top Story” and “Recent Stories“. The change is not only to the titles – the small triangle to the left of each newsfeed item will also disappear. This triangle is usually used to mark a story as a “top story”.
If you want to turn on the ticker, find the “Show Ticker” link on the right side. This will toggle the news ticker on. You can toggle it back off whenever you want using the “Hide Ticker” link.
Facebook– is another Chrome add-on which deals with similar issues. Once you download Facebook–, the news ticker will be gone. Use this add-on if you really don’t want to see the news ticker, because there’s no easy way to toggle it on and off.
As opposed to Facebook Classic, it also doesn’t leave you with half a sidebar for the chat, but expands the chat so it takes up the entire sidebar, the way it used to be before the news ticker joined the party.
Another thing Facebook– does is restore the title bar to the way it used to be. You get your Settings button back, and you lose your name and thumbnail in the title bar. Nice if you miss Facebook’s older look.
Sidebar Disabler is a Chrome, and add-on which leaves your news ticker alone in its non-sidebar position, and turns the sidebar into the good old Facebook chat.
If the news ticker is not your problem, but you’re just sick of the sidebar as a concept, you’ll be able to forget about it with this add-on. The old chat returns in full glory, along with the old options and friend lists. You also get to see only your online friends again, which is one of the most sorely missed features in the new chat sidebar.
FB Photo Zoom
Moving on to quite a different subject, FB Photo Zoom has nothing to do with news tickers and sidebars, but has a lot to do with the way you view images. Some people still don’t like Facebook’s Photo Theater, and others (like me), are just too lazy to click the thumbnail every time they want to view a full-size image.
With FB Photo Zoom, hovering over a thumbnail with your mouse cursor will automatically open a preview of the full size image. This preview even moves along as you move your mouse, but disappears immediately if your cursor leaves the thumbnail.
FB Photo Zoom also comes with some configurable settings. You can use it to disable Photo Theater if you still hate it. You can create a keyboard shortcut to toggle the zooming effect on and off, and another shortcut to force-enable it even when it’s off. You can even control the delays of the fade in and fade out of images.
This also works with the tiny “Friends on Chat” thumbnails, which are so small they’re often unrecognizable. Quite an upgrade to your casual Facebook image viewing experience.
The more changes Facebook makes, the more add-ons like these we’re going to find. I think it’s awesome that so many different ones exist – this way we can each create a user experience that suits us best, and make the most of Facebook without the things that annoy us.
If none of these add-ons hit the spot for you, you can find some more of them in this post by Steve. If there are even better Facebook add-ons, or if you think people should stop complaining and enjoy the changes, do tell us about it in the comments!