On March 13, 2013, Facebook quietly announced a BIG update:
"UPDATES TO THE TIMELINE ROLLING OUT NOW."
Full news release accessible here and the Developer specific news on Facebook Developer Blog.
This is the "home page" of any Facebook user (not Pages). This is where a person updates their Cover image, has links to their About information, Photos, and Friends, and most importantly where it lists their most recent Facebook status updates and activity.
WHY ISN'T THIS BIGGER NEWS?
Hard to say. Last week Facebook held a press event to announce a revamp of the News Feed and yet this roll-out hasn't really been arrived for the majority of users. However, the Timeline update was announced one day ago as "We are beginning to gradually roll out these new features to users and developers today." (emphasis added).
Key Differences: About section in left displaying and two column equal width changed to 2 column with right width being much more substantial. A 2/3 and 1/3 style. Plus the image thumbnails below the cover image are gone and text tabs are now below the Timeline and include: Timeline, About, Friends, Photos, and a More drop down.
Facebook says they are, " introducing better ways for apps to appear on timeline, improved controls for users, and streamlined tools for setting up Open Graph."
According to Facebook, "Posts and life events now appear on the right side of timeline and the other things people care about appear on the left. We're making content from apps more prominent by giving them sections in the left column of timeline and on the About tab.
Why is this good news? More Control!
People can add things to the new books, music, movies, TV, and fitness sections manually or by choosing to include content from the apps they use. This is GREAT for users and GREAT for us Developers to create new features for users to personalize their Timeline with things that are important to them!
People will be able to add an app as a stand-alone section on their timeline and About page.
For example, Instagram’s section displays a user’s photos and those they like.
Apps will now be displayed in app sections. Previously, only top-ranked Open Graph stories and aggregations would appear on timeline. Now, when someone adds an app section, it will appear in the same place until they edit the order or visibility.
Ability to now control what app information is at the top of the Timeline for a user is HUGE!
As part of this update, Facebook is now giving people more control over which apps they want to show on their timeline.
According to Facebook, "To add your app as a section, people will need to install your app and click the “Add to Profile” button on their app section page. You should encourage your users to add your app by linking to it on web or invoking it on mobile."
Do I mention this is great for users and also great for Developers?
More control for users and more opportunity for Developers to create tools for over 1 Billion people to customize their Timeline to show what's important to them. This is HUGE and is very interesting that they rolled out the news quietly. Instead of simply having what is most recent at the top or showing my "Likes" or funny Pinterest pins, a user could use an app like Instagram to list post key photos from their business such as their business card image, their office, their current sale offering, etc. With the ability to use apps and to set that this remains at the top, new life is now breathed into the profile Timeline. While most users spend time in the News Feed the most, watch for creative uses of the Timeline and driving friends and followers from the News Feed to the Timeline.
Why would Facebook announce this quietly?
Are they afraid of user backlash? Not sure at this point. All I can say is that watch for it because it appears they are going to roll this out right away and watch for new features from developers coming shortly!
Do you have the new Timeline on your Profile yet? Let us know what you think!