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22 September 2011

Big changes coming to Facebook: Timeline and verbs

Rachel Hawkes, account director, Elemental By Rachel Hawkes

The Facebook f8 keynote speech by founder Mark Zuckerberg started about 30 minutes ago.  Outside of the first 10 minutes of cheesy jokes by Saturday Night Live comedian Andy Samberg, the rest of the talk has seen Zuckerberg painting a picture of a big new overhaul of profiles called ‘Timeline.’

Timeline was described by Zuckerberg as: “All of your stories, all of your apps, a new way to express who you are.”  It will also integrate with mobile, to create a more seamless user experience from mobile to web.  Timeline will be progressively rolled out over the next few months, and will initially look quite bare.

The new Facebook Timeline will be more visual and include a ‘Cover’, which is one big image to visually "express who you are" – which doesn’t replace the profile picture.  Users will also be able to be more easily go back into the archive of content and conversations since they joined Facebook.  They will receive weekly or yearly Reports, which will give them a summary of events and activities they have done.  The Timeline will also enable a user to Highlight an important event, update or piece of content in order to flag it up on their Timeline.

Facebook have spent the last year working on the Open Graph protocol, which they believe will make it possible to build a completely new ‘social class’ of apps than ever before.  

The Open Graph will open up to two additional areas.  Currently, its communication, and games and will now open up to media (TV, music, movies, news and books) and lifestyle apps (cooking, eat, emotions, fashion, fitness etc.).  

One announcement that almost got a round of applause from the audience, was that users can be engaged with an app and never have a pop up again to authorize and ask if they want to share it on their news feed again.   With the new integration of Timeline and Apps, it will presume that if you want to use an app that you want to publish it on your Timeline, which is what Zuckerberg is calling a "frictionless experience."  Developers will be able to implement the 'add to Timeline' button on through Open Graph straight after f8, which will work immediately across all platforms.

The ticker feature also enables you to have a "serendipitous experience" with friends, particularly when it comes to music.  The founder demonstrated how with Open Graph and music social network Spotify, you can listen along with friends; you see in the ticker feed that your friend is listening to Up, the new single by James Morrison you can simply hover over the alert and listen along.  This will also be the case with launch partner, iHeartRadio.

Facebook has also announced the addition of verbs so you will be able to ‘read a book’ or ‘watch a movie.’

There's still a whole day of seminars to go at f8, but I'm off to do some knitting and eat dinner.  I'll blog again tomorrow when I've digested the rest of the days events.

Facebook Timeline

Categories: Technology, Social media, News, Events

Tags: Facebook, timeline, f8, Facebook changes, developers, apps, applications, open graph, social network

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