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article imageFacebook announces Timeline, Apps, new features at f8 conference

By Chris Hogg     Sep 22, 2011 in Internet
At Facebook's annual f8 conference, one of the most anticipated events in the world of social media, the company introduced new products such as a new Timeline page and the ability to embed various apps such as Spotify and Netflix.
Developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers and media descended on the f8 conference taking place in San Francisco, California today where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is opening the event with a keynote.
Among the features introduced at f8 was a re-imagining of the Profile page Zuckerberg called Timeline. He envisions it as the story of each member's life, laid out with more emphasis on photos.
Making apps "social by design", Facebook also wants users to enjoy using new apps on their Timeline. Getting the Spotify app, for instance, allows members to stream music and then publicize what they're doing to their friends. The same practice applies to Netflix or Nike+ or Buzzfeed apps, among dozens of other apps.
Zuckerberg started by announcing a big milestone, saying more than 500 million people used Facebook on a single day for the first time ever recently.
Zuckerberg then went on to discuss the user profile page, saying it's changed a lot over the last five years but it has remained the most important part of Facebook for its users. He said one of the problems with the profile, however, is that as people share more and more, your past events are pushed further down on the page until they become virtually forgotten. So the next big step with Facebook is Timeline.


Timeline includes "all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are." Zuckerberg then showed a screenshot of what Timeline looks like and it includes everything you've ever uploaded to Facebook so you can see it all on one page. You can also view your entire history of activity on a mobile device.
One of the biggest challenges in designing Timeline, Zuckerberg said, was figuring out how to tell all your important stories on a single page; not every update you've made is important in the history of all of your Facebook activity, so the company engineered Timeline to pluck out important moments and summarize your historical activity based on those moments. If you want to add certain pieces of content, you can do so by selecting them and telling Facebook to add them to your Timeline.
Timeline also lets you choose certain views, allowing you to view specific types of content in your Timeline (such as pictures, maps, etc) rather than the entire content feed.
An example of the new Timeline profile on Facebook
An example of the new Timeline profile on Facebook
In addition to content, Facebook is also including embeddable Apps as part of Timeline.
"People who use Facebook really love apps," Zuckerberg said. "People really want to use apps to express themselves."
Apps are now designed to fit into Timeline, so you can highlight everything you've done with an app. If you're cooking, playing a game, reading a news site -- it all fits into the Timeline to show what you've done.
Finally, Zuckerberg said Timeline will allow users to express who they really are. For example, users can select a "cover photo" which acts like a magazine cover shot and can change it as often as they want.
Facebook's privacy filters are also incorporated into Timeline, allowing users to choose what content to show, a concern for many Facebook users.
With all the customization around Timeline, Facebook is essentially introducing a personalized newspaper that lets users curate content, personalize the look and publish details of their life as part of a single-page layout.
Timeline is expected to be available in a couple weeks.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Via Facebook livestream


The second part of the keynote touched on Apps and Zuckerberg said the company is introducing an entirely new type of application.
Specifically, Zuckerberg said people will now be able to show "lightweight" activity.
He said people have continued to say they want to share something, but they don't want to post it to Facebook because it will annoy their friends. They're usually small updates such as commenting on a photo, liking a movie, or earning points in a game. People don't always want to share that info.
To solve this problem, Facebook introduced Ticker to the profile page that shows these small events. Ticker shows on the right side of the profile page.
Facebook is introducing new types of apps, to be rolled out in several weeks. The first is the type that helps you fill out your Timeline, and the second is designed to help you discover new things via your friends.
Using Spotify as an example, Zuckerberg said users can grant an app permission to publish small events to your timeline and Ticker. This allows your friends to see what you are doing live, in real-time.
So when you're listening to a new song, an update will be published to your Ticker so your friends can see what you're listening to. In addition, your friends can listen to the same song.
Ticker is designed to surface new content like this.
Rumours around listening to music have been floating around for some time but speculation turned into realization when Facebook employee Ji Lee leaked details via a tweet yesterday: "The 'Listen with your friend' feature in ticker is blowing my mind," he tweeted. "Listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE." The tweet has since been deleted but the listen-with-your-friend feature is indeed real. As you're listening to a song, you can also start a discussion with your friend about the song in a chat-style pop-up window.
And when someone finds a piece of music from you, you are notified. Zuckerberg was particularly proud of this feature, saying it's great to learn when your activity influenced someone and they liked it. So this real-time sharing is all about discovery, discussion and notification about who is doing what and how people are finding new content.
Movies, TV & Video:
The service is about more than just music, too. Zuckerberg said it will also include movies, TV shows and videos. So Facebook Ticker and News Feed will show you what your friends are watching in real-time and allow you to watch video content within Facebook, powered by Facebook's new Open Graph.
Partners include Netflix, Hulu, Flixter, DirectTV and more.
All this activity shows within Timeline, allowing users to showcase what they've watched and listened to, and allowing others to discover new content.
News stories:
Zuckerberg said several businesses will be able to use these new types of apps to build products and make them more social, including news organizations. For the first time, you will be able to see what news stories your friends are reading in real-time via Ticker, and summaries will be published via News Feed.
Zuckerberg said he sees this as a way to change how the whole news industry works by making everything more social.
"The new Open Graph is all about discovering new things through your friends with frictionless experiences real-time serendipity and finding patterns," Zuckerberg concluded during his keynote.
What do you think of the new Facebook announcements? Post a comment below and share your views!
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