Monday, July 21, 2008

Facebook sues over copied design, launches redesigned interface

Social network giant Facebook entered litigation with German site Studivz on Friday for closely copying its design, just in time for Facebook to launch its totally redesigned interface on Monday.

German site StudiVZ took more than a few design cues from Facebook. According to reports, early versions of the site even featured filenames such as fbook.css and poke.php, as the two companies were reportedly "in talks."

StudiVZ's founder Ehssan Dariani has frequently been quoted in his acknowledgment of the two sites' similarity: "We may have oriented ourselves along the lines of the Facebook layout, but it was also clear that we would strongly distinguish ourselves by other things, that we wanted to be original."

On Friday, Facebook sued StudiVZ for copyright infringement in a California federal court. StudiVZ denied these allegations and asked for a declaratory judgement at the district court level in Stuttgart, Germany.

Facebook claims that, "As with any counterfeit product, Studivz's uncontrolled quality standards for service, features and privacy negatively impact the genuine article."

Any negative impact felt from StudiVZ's alleged infringement, however, will be significantly decreased after a sweeping update to Facebook's interface.

Rolled out today, the new Facebook has reduced its emphasis on personal profiles and made the news feed the primary fixture. When users log into, they are taken to a redesigned homepage centered around the News Feed and friends' status updates. A navigation bar along the top gives access to profile data, friends list, applications, and the user's inbox.

Facebook sues over copied design, launches redesigned interface

In the profile editor, the Status update bar has moved from a small window in the right hand margin to the main item in the window. Popularized by "micro-blogging" site Twitter, the Status bar gives the user 160 characters with which to post quick updates.

Facebook sues over copied design, launches redesigned interface

By relegating profile information to a supplementary page, this renewed layout addresses the current trend in social networking of instant and frequent updates popularized by services like Twitter and FriendFeed.

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