Everything You Need To Know About The New Features Coming To Facebook

Facebook announced its plans for the future at its F8 developer conference, adding a bunch of new features to improve the way you interact with others on the site. Love it or hate it, here’s what to expect.

The Timeline

Yet another redesign is coming to Facebook, but this one looks pretty good. The Timeline seeks to take all the news and status updates flowing through your account and organise them in a way that’s actually meaningful to you. It hides what you don’t necessarily care about while still making it accessible — just collapsed (into a grey dot) — on the page. How Facebook decides what is and is not important isn’t entirely clear, however, but seems like it learns your preferences based on what you choose to hide and show.

You also get to choose what you want to highlight on your specific timeline. If something is important, you can decide how prominent it is. For example, a photo header at the top of the page allows you to feature a specific image that’s basically a photographic version of your status. You’ll still have your profile picture, but you can headline your page with a great big picture of what’s important to you right now. You can also choose what other images, status updates, etc., are featured on your page so you can highlight the content you want and hide what you don’t.

Your timeline will also include app summaries, featuring the things that you do. If you’re pulling recipes from a cooking app, tracking your routes while running, or just buying tickets to a movie, a summary of that activity will be available on your timeline (unless you choose not to feature it). This is to provide an overview of what you’re doing, rather than scatter tons and tons of individual updates across your timeline. Instead, summaries will show what you did in a given week or month (for example). This way you can share what you’ve been up to without a massive amount of information becoming overwhelming for visitors of your page.

Timeline enters its beta period today and will be available to developers. Everyone else will be able to sign up to try it out early, but it will be rolled out progressively over time.

Better Handling of News and Updates

Express Yourself with Verbs

Facebook is exceptionally proud of adding verbs. Instead of just liking stuff, you can now ______ stuff. If you just watch a movie, listen to a song, or eat a sandwich, you’ll be able to specify that on your page. This way you don’t have to feel like you’re endorsing something.

Keeping Annoyances Out of Your Way

Facebook focused on three things to keep out the annoyances: frictionless experiences, real-time serendipity and finding patterns. So what does all of that actually mean? Facebook is trying to get rid of annoying popups from apps every time you want to just share some minor information. They want to reduce the friction of sharing what you want to share. Facebook also feels its new ticker — you know, the thing we showed you how to kill — is a great place to put a lot of these small updates. It’ll handle friends’ status, breaking news, and little things you may not want to see on your page. Finally, Facebook will be watching for activity patterns to more intelligently highlight what’s happening with your friends. Any patterns it finds will show up more prominently on your page so you don’t miss potentially important things that are happening.

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