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Will Facebook's New Timeline Profile Update Work?

Ankit Tyagi |
September 22, 2011 | 4:40 p.m. PDT

Associate Tech Editor

During the Facebook's annual F8 developer's conference Thursday, the social network giant announced a couple of new features, particularly focused around a profile redesign, which it is calling Timeline. One of the biggest redesigns in Facebook eight-year history, Timeline hopes to provide users with a more organized way of sharing their online life. However, will Timeline be able to do this?

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, at the F8 Conference in 2010. Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, at the F8 Conference in 2010. Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Even though the majority of Facebook changes are generally received with backlash, as seen with the latest one happening earlier this week, Timeline seems to be different. During the keynote, one of the main features that was discussed was the ability to really control what is put on the Timeline. With the control of what gets posted, many of the privacy issues that has plagued Facebook in the past may be avoided with the Timeline. 

According to Facebook's blog post about Timeline, all "stories," as Facebook is calling these posts, are removable, which allows you to customize what information is shown on the profile. This puts users in control of what information is shown up on their profile in a way that Facebook profiles haven't seen before. 

There is certainly a concern about what this means for this growth in information, theoretically starting from birth to the current date. During his keynote speech, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, stated that the original 2004 profile page represented the information you'd get from a person after 5 minutes of talking. In recent years, that number changed to 15 minutes. With the new Timeline, Zuckerberg says, the profile page becomes about the rest of your life.

Beyond just the stories that you provide, Facebook is providing more integration with apps, most notably Spotify and Netflix. The key feature of this new integration is the ability to define an action and do what your friends are doing. For example, if you see that your friend is listening to a song on Spotify, you can go ahead and listen to the same song. 

Here is an example of Spotify being used when applied to the new Open Graph, as Facebook calls the new app framework.  

Privacy once again becomes an issue here, and Facebook has responded by reworking their policy. Instead of having to give permission for an app to post content onto Facebook, the initial permissions prompt will explain what kind of stories are put up, so you can approve specific types of posts. 

Overall, like typical Facebook updates, this one could come with some backlash, but Facebook has put themselves in a better position to avoid that. With the ability to control posts and published information more accurately and easily, Facebook is taking hint to the criticism of the past. 

Take a look at a compilation of different Facebook profile pages from 2004 up until today, including the new Timeline.


Reach Ankit Tyagi here.

Follow him on Twitter @ankittya.

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