Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Timelines
Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced major changes to the social network at its f8 developer conference. The new features are a part of a shift in focus away from just linking content to sharing everything people do.
As we reported a Timeline is a new, more visual version of the old Facebook profile. The new interface will allow individuals to easily browse through the history of activity on Facebook. On the right side of the page is a box that contains different years. Clicking on one will scroll the page down to important updates from that year.
The feature – which will be rolled out over the next few weeks – has a much stronger focus on important moments in a person’s life. Going back in time, Facebook will summarize most events so only the most important will be displayed. Throughout the endlessly scrolling profile is a faint timeline in the middle of the page where a user can control which updates are displayed. Just like the News Feed, anything with a blue flag denotes importance and gray dots represent less significant updates.
The company is launching a new Open Graph – which helped to integrate Likes of webpages and Facebook Pages – for developers to build apps that no longer have to request permission to post content to Facebook every time a user wants to share something. Instead a new permissions screen will explain exactly what type of stories will be shared the first time an app is given permission to post. These updates will no longer appear in the News Feed as all media, news, and book updates will go into the recently launched ticker feature.
Through the new Open Graph – which now includes actions and objects created by app developers – and ticker feature Facebook users will be able to share experiences, such as listening to music, with friends. Facebook has partnered with a number of music and online video companies – including Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and turntable.fm – to shift the focus away from just Liking something to being able to experience new music with a friend. When an update about what a friend is listening to appears in the ticker, a user can hover over it and a new box will pop up that will give the option to hear what he or she is listening to.
Currently these changes affect individual users of Facebook. Page admins don’t have to worry about a redesign just yet; however, the updates have made it so content from your Page or app can be shared with less hassle. And with a dedicated ticker displaying every Like and comment, chances are that more people will notice a friend’s activity on your Page or app.
Additionally Facebook has partnered with publishers like The Daily, Yahoo, and The Guardian to make it easier to share everything that is being read. The social network also announced that it’s working with companies like Byliner, Color and Foodspotting to bring lifestyle updates to the ticker to make sharing easier than ever. Facebook game developers will also be able to take advantage of the lightweight updates to push content to the ticker.
The company is moving away from just getting people to sign up for social networking tools and is focusing on how to integrate apps and products that make connections possible. This is all very new and reactions have been mixed so it will be interesting to watch how opinions change as these new features are released.
Timelines are still in beta for the public, but is available to developers. Facebook will begin rolling it out to users as it’s improved over the next few weeks.
[Image credit: Rebecca Wilson]