Remember when Facebook rolled out a new photo viewer, similar to the one in Google+? Well, here we go again.
A few days ago, Google rolled out a Google+ redesign that includes larger profile pictures. Days later, Facebook has rolled out larger profile pictures.
Coincidence? I think not.
As you can see above, I've taken comparison screenshots of Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Timeline, which you can view for yourself at facebook.com/zuck. His profile picture thumbnail has clearly grown.
I contacted Facebook about this tweak and received a prompt reply. "I can confirm we've increased the size of profile photos," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Previously, a profile picture measured 130 x 125 pixels. Now, Facebook's profile pictures measure 166 x 160 pixels. The image in question is still a preview of your full profile picture, which can be viewed in full when you click on it.
A quick check of Facebook's own Facebook Page shows that Pages haven't gotten a larger profile picture yet. This makes me further believe this is a direct reaction to the Google+ update: if Facebook was planning this change all along, the company would have included it when it pushed out Timeline to all Facebook Pages at the end of last month.
I wonder if Facebook will push out larger photos for Pages in the next few days as well, or if it will wait for the next update to Pages. After all, if the company does end up unifying the profile picture size for Facebook Pages, it will break a lot of designs that businesses worked hard on. The company might as well do it when it breaks other things as well, so that Page administrators can go through and fix everything at once.
In fact, I've already seen that some of my friends' Facebook Timelines look worse because their cover photos no longer match up with their profile pictures. The profile picture may be more prominent now, but it takes up more of your cover photo, which many have used to create cool visual effects at the top of their Facebook profiles.
As I already mentioned, this isn't the first time Facebook has borrowed features from Google+ or reacted to something Google+ has changed, and it certainly won't be the last. Of course when Google+ first launched, it looked almost identical to Facebook, and subsequent updates are also blatant Facebook rip-offs.
Still, I've argued before that Google+ is the best thing that ever happened to Facebook.
Update: They're bigger on Pages now as well.
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