Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

Summary: Facebook has started rolling out a new photo viewer that looks like what Google+ currently offers: image on the left and everything else on the right. Do you have it yet?

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Last week, Facebook started testing at least three different variants of a new photo viewer, all of which looked like the one Google+ currently offers: image on the left and everything else on the right. Today, the company pushed out a new photo viewer to many of its users.

Update: "We can confirm that the new photo viewer has been rolled out," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Yes, to all users."

I have asked friends and colleagues if they're seeing the new photo viewer, and they have all confirmed that, yes, they are seeing it. Furthermore, everyone is seeing the same new one.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the image is on the left and the comments are on the right. The new format means photos shown can be even larger (the maximum resolution was increased to 960 x 960 back in August 2011, and now users can finally take full advantage), if available, since all the precious vertical space can be put to use. In some cases though, such as taller, narrow images, you'll see a smaller photo overall.

On the desktop, Facebook has more room horizontally than vertically, so it makes sense to have all extra information and comments on the side, so users don't have to scroll down to see them. I would suspect that mobile devices accessing Facebook in portrait orientation will continue to see the older design, as it makes more sense for that form factor.

Notice the "Tag Photo" and "Add Location" buttons on the right side. They look just like the Timeline and the Activity Log buttons. The ads have also been relocated to the right side, but on the other hand they are now being pushed down by the photo's comments. If my image didn't have comments, there would be two Sponsored Stories, not just one. Speaking of comments: the Comment button has been removed from the photo viewer too.

This screenshot also shows what happens when you hover over an image: previous and next arrows appear, outlined "Like" and "Tag Photo" buttons show up, as does the title of the album, and which photo you're currently viewing out of how many. What you can't see in the screenshot above is that the new photo viewer also darkens the background of the Facebook webpage while you are viewing an album, rather than just making it transparent.

Overall, it's an improvement, and one that I think we can thank Google for (see Google+ is the best thing that ever happened to Facebook).

I'm not sure if all of Facebook's 845 million monthly users have the new feature. Facebook does all of its rollouts gradually, so it's very possible that many still don't have it. What does seem to be happening today is that Facebook has chosen which new design it is going with. I have contacted Facebook for more information and will update you if I hear back.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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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Talkback

10 comments
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  • Ads are annoying

    I don't like the fact that now while viewing a picture the Ads are displayed along with the comments, I found it very distracting and unrelated, I guess Facebook figured it out that we spent a lot of time looking at pictures w/o being exposed to Ads.
    bigfootrod@...
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    HATE IT! Go back!
    rphunter42
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    I hate it, because the white bar on the right is too much of a contrast with the photos. It was not jarring like this when it was a bar at the bottom.

    I would be fine with it if the background was black.

    Why do you think the rest of the photo viewer's background is black and not white.. this bright white bar defeats the rest of the design.
    fredericr
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    I'm 100% onside with [i]fredericr[/i] on this one. [b][u]Jarring[/u][/b] contrast with even the brightest pictures, just to accommodate more irrelevant advertising crap. Don't like it at all!
    hectorj102
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    Except it far more uglier than Google version.
    An Google original version was black and still is better than the white one they have switch to.

    Does Facebook just goes to Google+ for their new designs nowadays?
    Excluding Timeline its seems everything Google+ does Facebook copies.
    Knowles2
    • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

      @Knowles2 : I guess we know who you suck up to then. You don't think that the Google developers looked at Facebook and said "Ok. We can do something like this but lets change it a bit."? Or when Google "created" the Android OS it didn't look to see that the iPhone and [heaven forbid] the Blackberry OS and Windows Phone have and tried to improve on them?
      Gisabun
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    It has always looked good in G+ but then the pictures are more crisp and clear in G+ too. In FB... well... they tried to copy G+ but didn't succeed.
    codecrackx15
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    So that's why Facebook on the iPad crashes every time I try to view comments on a photo. This started happening yesterday.
    brianm44
  • Errr....

    Prefer this version. The "X" to close was in a bad location.

    Watch Google to take FB to court on this.... :-)
    Gisabun
  • RE: Facebook rolls out new photo viewer, similar to Google+

    I would love to see Facebook add the feature (like Google+ has) where I have the option to automatically upload every picture I take with my phone to my Facebook account. Then I can just go there and expose the ones I want rather than having to upload them all the time.
    jefferyshall