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Facebook rolls out Timeline

Facebook has begun transforming profile pages into interactive digital scrapbooks that let members of the world’s leading online social network tell the stories of their lives.

tech reviews Updated: Dec 16, 2011 13:58 IST

Facebook has begun transforming profile pages into interactive digital scrapbooks that let members of the world’s leading online social network tell the stories of their lives.

The “Timeline” feature being rolled out by Facebook was unveiled at a developers conference in September and comes with new ways for people to discover and share music, movies, books and news.

“Timeline gives you an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing that the change is now available to its more than 800 million members.

Facebook timeline is a chronologically arranged visual representation of a user's status updates, photos, and other activities on Facebook marking the various events of his life. A user can share and highlight memorable and important moments from the past - posts, photos, videos, and events - and make them visible for others.

Facebook timeline

While most users flood Facebook with real-time updates about anything and everything, most of these aren't important for future reference or archival. What I had for lunch this afternoon wouldn't interest me or visitors of my profile page next week, forget year later. However, there are several shares and milestones that one would want to be bookmarked like the video of your child's first steps or photos of the graduation convocation. Timeline offers a customizable way to present your life and personality in an online storybook.



Facebook

The associated social apps announced will allow users to post updates about activities such as cooking, listening to music, watching a movie, or reading a book. These apps would feed the analytics for users' behaviour and preferences. This data would chart off interesting reports, for example the running patterns of a user in the last month, and provide useful insights to the advertisers to target ads for specific audience. Several existing third-party apps based around certain activities, like Shelfari for book reading or RunKeeper for fitness workouts, already tread this line but the next wave of apps may see more integration with the Facebook platform and uniform interaction.



A nifty upcoming addition to Facebook activity would be the expansion of verbs. Moving beyond 'like', Facebook would now allow users to post what they are 'cooking' or the book they are 'reading' and so on and so forth, adding to the platform's metadata. These would integrate well with the new setof media and lifestyle apps and appear in the news ticker introduced earlier this week. You can also showcase the various locations that you have ever checked in at.



Facebook location

The conference also saw several announcements around partnerships with content providers and publishers. With tie-ups with Spotify, Netflix, and Hulu, their apps would allow users to access content within Facebook. Of course, the analytics would not just help Facebook, but the content providers too. Trending song, anyone? Incidentally, all three services are not available in India. Until Facebook extends partnerships with Indian services like Gaana.com, we can skip the specifics of this one. Publishers like Yahoo, The Guardian, and Washington Post will introduce news apps, which Facebook claims would aid news discovery.



Clearly, Facebook timeline makes more sense for strangers or profile visitors who intend to be friends with a user as it gives a one glance journal of a user's personality and life. It would act as an online journal, and might just do away with the need for personal homepages for most users, whether self-hosted or created using services such as about.me.



You can even check out all the changes done to the Facebook Profiles in the following video.