The most significant change sees the navigation sidebar shifting from the right hand side of the page to the left, bringing functions that were previously in tabs to the key visual focus point on the page. Other changes include an improved posting interface, improved room navigation, friend lists improvements, and a renewed focus on a simple and clean interface.
I wasn't a fan of the first beta, in particular the right hand side sidebar. Making a change from an interface you're comfortable with always requires some time, and I need to hack or get new versions of some of the Greasemonkey scripts I use (in particular, they're still not offering the ability to show 100 or more entries on the one screen :-( ) but my initial reaction: now we're talking.
The sidebar on the left is a no brainer. Years of visual heatmaps show that the key focal point on a page is the top left hand side, and putting the key tasks there, and not off to the side outside of key focal points is the right decision. The small side bar fits more nicely in the flow of the site, being accessible but not over board. The strong fonts, for example black bold on user names is still throwing me a bit, and the beta looks stronger visually than the old FriendFeed, but I'm not sure if that's a positive yet...acquired taste or something I'll get use to.
Kudos to the FriendFeed team for listening to users and being willing to take feedback on board and deliver based on that feedback. I'm giving the beta a second chance, and we'll see in a couple of days if I can stick at it. FriendFeed users can use the beta via beta.friendfeed.com