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Facebook testing feature to take you back to the past

New feature will let users see what they, and their friends, were doing and saying one year before

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 30, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3385

(Updated to reflect comment from Facebook)

It's now been over 10 years since Mark Zuckerberg famously began Facebook while sitting in his Harvard dormroom. Back then it was called Facemash, and he wouldn't begin to write Facebook code until January of 2004, but the idea was already born.

I'm not sure what 10 years as a website equates to in human years, but it seems to be something akin to middle age, seeing as Facebook is all of the sudden becoming nostalgic.

The site is now testing out a new feature what will appear inside News Feeds that will let users see what was happening on Facebook one year before, it has been confirmed to VatorNews.

“We’re testing a new way to help you remember favorite moments by making it easier to revisit previous News Feed posts,” a Facebook spokesperson told me. “When you click on this notice, you will see a selection of some of the top posts from your News Feed from a year ago. This is just a small test at this stage.”

If that kind of feature sounds familiar, that is because it is exactly what Timehop does. The site connects to social media sites, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram, and will show users status updates, tweets and photos that occured on that day in past years.

Founded in 2010, the site has raised over $4 million, including $3 million in July. It will be interesting how much a feature like this on Facebook will impact a stand-alone service like Timehop.

Beyond taking some traffic away from a smaller startup, it is hard to see what benefit Facebook will actually see from a feature like this.

Not only can you already go back and easily see what you said and did on a particular day with Timeline, which it first introduced back in 2011, but how often will users actually be that interested in what happened one year earlier? Is that information all that interesting.

For example, using the Timeline feature, I found out that I wrote this status one year ago exactly:

"Spending my last day in my apartment, before I leave for a week, finally cleaning it. I threw out all my recycling, vacuumed, washed the floor and even scrubbed my shower. I'm looking forward to coming back to a, relativity, clean place."

Fascinating stuff! Frankly, I'm embarrassed that I ever thought that that would be interesting to anyone.

There is something kind of cool about Facebook giving us a "this day in history" type feature, but its use and functionality just seem a bit limited to me.

This news was first reported by AllThingsD on Friday.

(Image source: http://www.williesimpson.com)