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What the Facebook is happening to my Facebook?!
Facebook held its annual F8 developers conference yesterday and unleashed a whole slew of changes to the popular social networking site. Tongues have been wagging all over the Internet about what it all amounts to for the average user.
Several new developments had been rolling out for weeks prior to F8. Facebook now features Friends Lists where users can categorize their friends according to the closeness of their acquaintance. Users can have Subscriptions to other people without their giving consent or following back, following the "circles" model of Google +.
Perhaps most noticable to the Facebook faithful is the addition of an updated News Feed which takes into account the frequency with which each user visits the site and accordingly updates said user’s news either by “most relevant” or “most recent." And finally, we've seen the addition of a News Ticker scrolling on the right-hand side of each user’s page, giving a constant feed of the most-recent Friends’ activity.
But these changes are nothing compared to what's coming. The most profound development of the site, which has yet to be implemented, was shown during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation during the F8 conference proper. This is the new Timeline feature, which arranges Facebook updates into a more transparent “life story” than the previous model.
The Timeline is a natural extension of a given user’s profile as it exists now, showing Facebook activity sequentially. However, like the updated New Feed, this newer profile model also gives greater emphasis to the most recent and the most “important” activity. Events further in the user’s past may disappear from the Timeline altogether, allowing the user’s past to be represented by those events most important to the overall picture. …Or that’s the idea, anyway.
The new Facebook Timeline may give other social media "timeline" platforms like Memolane a run for their money.
Another important Facebook development hit on during F8 was the projected integration of online music and film streaming services into the social networking paradigm. These changes will be implemented in conjunction with online music providers Spotify, MOG, Vevo, Turntable.fm, Slacker, Rdio and Soundcloud, and online movie providers Netflix and Hulu.
Soon, Facebook users will be able to see what music and films their friends are consuming and rather than simply liking said music or film, they can immediately plug in and start enjoying along with them.
Still other developments include a new approach to apps, which work outside Facebook functionality while still updating to users’ Facebook pages. One example of this new kind of “social app” is a projected jogging app that functions out of the user’s mobile phone but updates Facebook in real time via a GPS system.
So yeah... A lot of new stuff is going down at Facebook, most of which will be implemented for the general public by the end of 2011.
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