A closer look at the Facebook Timeline and the Open Graph

Summary:Facebook today announced a new Timeline feature and a new type of social app under its Open Graph. They're not available yet, but almost all the details are finally official.

At its 2011 f8 developer conference, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg today announced the Facebook Timeline, which the social networking giant is referring to as "the evolution of your profile." It's all about rediscovery of content already on Facebook and of course putting more emphasis on new content.

Screenshots: the Facebook Timeline and the Open Graph

Facebook didn't say when it will launch; the company merely said is that it "won't be available for a few weeks." When you get access to the new feature, you'll be able to choose to publish it immediately or take a few days to review what's there and add anything that's missing.

Zuckerberg says the Timeline is "a place that you are proud to call your home." While the current Facebook profile is completely based on showing all the latest updates, the Timeline is meant to highlight all the important updates of your life. He points out that the only way to find these updates are to click on the Older Posts link at the bottom of someone's profile. Timeline is supposed to change that by letting you pick what's important. "You have complete control of everything on your Timeline," says Zuckerberg.

Timeline is wider than your old profile. It's also a lot more visual: not only does it have a giant cover photo at the top, but also lets you star your favorite photos to double their size. At the same time, you can hide things altogether to make other stories stand out more. The most interesting part is that you can make a point to add stories for a specific time period in the past, to fill in the blanks.

Facebook also lets you finally check out your private activity log, which shows you everything you shared since you joined Facebook. You can click on any post to feature it on your timeline so your friends can see it too.

A big part of the Timeline is apps and the Open Graph. Facebook today announced a new kind of social app that lets you show the things you like to do on your Timeline.

This is more than the rumored Read, Listened, and Watched buttons. Here's an excerpt:

Unsurprisingly, this year's f8 conference reportedly has the following motto: "Read. Watch. Listen." Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will announce multiple news, video, and music partnerships during his keynote. Read partners will include big online publishers such as Yahoo, Watch will be a range of video websites (such as Hulu and Netflix), and Listen will of course be music services (including Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody, Soundcloud, Rdio, Deezer, and Vevo).

These new social apps are meant to help you discover what your friends are currently doing, beyond just the fact that they just Liked something. Facebook wants developers to do more than just use the Liked verb (and more than the Read, Watched, and Listened verbs too). During his keynote, Zuckerberg showed Cooked and Ran as possible examples. The Open Graph is "a completely new class of social apps" says Zuckerberg.

Timeline is the feature the end user will see while Open Graph is what the developers will be using. I'll keep you updated on both.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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