Facebook announces redesigned profile pages, introduces Timeline at f8 conference

September 23, 2011

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes in Facebook’s profile pages, introducing a Timeline that will replace the old user page layout. As Faster Forward’s Hayley Tsukayama reported:

Mark Zuckerberg's first announcement during his keynote speech at Facebook’s f8 conference: The social network is revamping the user profile in a complete “Timeline.”

The company founder and CEO took the stage in San Francisco on Thursday to explain the next steps for the search engine’s platform and his hope to build more social apps for the network.

The Timeline has three main components, Zuckerberg said --- all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are.

Translated from his spin, Timeline is a comprehensive and curated version of your entire history on Facebook. Pictures and videos are featured prominently, making profiles much more visually focused. Visitors to your profile can click on a year to explore what users have been up to in the past — histories are more abridged the farther back you go.

Filters based on the type of content (pictures, videos, etc.) and a map of the world allow users to relive where they were when they posted the media.

Users can also customize the top of their timeline, called a “cover” — a large photo at the top of the profile that will look familiar to anyone with a blog. In fact, the whole profile looks more like a blog, which fits in with Facebook’s decision to extend the limit on user updates to 5,000 characters. The company is also revamping the “Like” button, adding more verbs such as “read” or “watched.”

The Facebook redesign’s intention is to make it a one-stop-shop for news, movies, music and social networking, and includes more applications to bring outside content into the Timeline. As Hayley Tsukayama explained:

Facebook is also trying to change the way people get news. Zuckerberg revealed that the site is partnering with news outlets such as Yahoo News, The Daily and, yes, The Washington Post. Users will be able to click on an item in a news stream and read it on the site without ever leaving the social network. They can also read what their friends are reading and find new content based on suggestions.

“This new app is fun,” said Donald Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post Co. “If you know that several of your friends have read a story, you’ll be more interested in it.”

Graham is also a member of Facebook’s board of directors

This level of sharing also applies to music, through partnerships with companies such as Spotify and Clear Channel’s iheartradio, and video via deals with streaming sites such as Netflix (though not yet in the U.S.) and Dailymotion.

Some of the new apps are available immediately. The Timeline layout has started its beta test, and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.

Apart from the functional and visual changes Facebook revealed Thursday, the quality and style of the keynote speech also showed how the social network has grown as a company. The slides projected off of Zuckerberg’s laptop could have been taken directly from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ computer. Facebook also broke up its presentation with highly produced, evocative videos showing off exactly how they want users to take advantage of the new features.

More technology coverage from The Washington Post

f8: Facebook CEO Zuckerberg introduces Timeline

Facebook changes confuse users, as a major overhaul looms

Facebook redesigns News Feed, officially adds Ticker

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