Facebook has been hard at work revamping the core of its social networking site and frustrating its loyal 750 million users with new changes they find unnecessary and complicated. The company walks a dangerous tight rope, trying to satisfy its user base, advertisers and its future needs.The company’s CEO and the world’s youngest billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, introduced the changes at Facebook’s F8 conference overnight. According to The Australian reports, the conference kicked off in San Francisco with the launch of “Timeline” pages.
The new Timeline page will replace the traditional profile set up Facebook users have become accustomed to. A rework from the ground up it will chronologically map out your life, with Zuckerberg claiming “Timeline is the story of your life.”
“What Timeline does is show all the recent activity and then as you go back in time it starts summarizing the things you’ve done in your life.”
Zuckerberg showed off his new Timeline profile page, which chronicled his meeting with US President Barak Obama to photos of him as a baby.
“The biggest challenge was to tell the story of your life in a single page.
“We didn’t want to just design a place for you to put all of your stories and apps. We wanted to make Timeline a place that you are proud to call your home.”
Facebookers will have to install third party applications to share snippets with who they choose through privacy settings.
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|Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg|
Currently the Timeline feature is still in testing but will be rolled out to its 750 million users in upcoming weeks.
Also announced was a wave of Open Graph applications that will share music, movies and books. Facebook is becoming a canvass for applications developers, such as Spotify, who are amongst others contributing to the Open Graph.
“I am excited about what the latest wave of music companies is doing with the open graph.”
Open Graph ready developers include Netflix, Hulu, Yahoo and The Daily.
Dedicated applications will let Facebookers see what their friends are reading, watching or listening to, with movie, music and news applications further bridging common interests, while helping advertisers use the integrity of friendships as a sales tool.
“Now, you don’t just have to ‘Like’ a book, you can read it,” Zuckerberg explained. “You can connect to anything you want; it’s simple but it is really powerful.”
Zuckerberg’s excitement wasn’t limited to the new stuff he’s bringing in, but also fuelled by the weeding of unnecessary Facebook inconveniences. He heralded arriving applications that enabled users to nominate friends that can spectate activities without having to subscribe through ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons.
Although Facebook has given its fan base a heads up, it was only a few days ago they unveiled a variety of changes that were met with the fury of online bloggers.
The Newsfeed has fallen slave to algorithms that prioritise status updates, choosing what science and maths deem as important.
“Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top,” the company said on its blog site.
The terms ‘interesting’ and ‘important’ have become focal points of debate, with 4,600 comments being posted on the blog.
“Facebook, you’re not near as smart as you think you are. Your algorithms for deciding what I want to see, who I want to talk to or what I think is important are 99.999% of the time the exact polar opposite of what I want,” wrote Facebook member Raymond J. Schlogel.
Nicole Denae Stolpa wrote “I do not want this. I don’t want Facebook deciding what’s important to me. I don’t care what your algorithms say, you will be WRONG.”
Also introduced was a ticker showcasing friends’ actions in real time as the News Feed “often has a time lag.” This addition was criticised for crowding the profile page, which is already ridden with social interactions, media postings, advertising, games and applications.
Analysts believe the mods and additions will help retain and gain more users, making Facebook more competitive against its rival Google, who made its Google+ social network public a few days ago.
“Facebook is positioning itself as not just your social graph online, but your life online,” said Forrester analyst Sean Corcoran.
“These changes not only help trump rival Google, but will open up new opportunities for marketers with new kinds of customer experiences, long term engagement, advertising, and customer intelligence,” he said.
Changes to Facebook have always been met with criticism, with users demanding their needs should be met without the business of advertisers compromising the sites integrity. It’s a tough gig trying to satisfy all of 750 million users, and there’s little doubt the new changes will be welcomed with the same hostile reception as those in the past