New Facebook Features

Yes, you are looking at the new profile page of Facebook, completely redesigned with the newly introduced Timeline, which aims to transform the original Facebook Profile into a platform to showcase the story of your life. It’s incredible: Facebook has become a tool that’s a reflection of who we are.

“It’s the heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up,” Zuckerberg says, noting that they’ve been working on it all year. “Timeline is the story of your life.”

“For the past year, Facebook has been working on the beautiful re-imagining of the Profile, which they call “Timeline“. I just got it enabled on my account. Going back in time and seeing the past several years of my life displayed in this way is nothing short of profound. Facebook has used software to make something meaningful. Something emotionally powerful.”

Notice that at the side of the main profile page there is a timeline bar which allows you to scroll and navigate directly back to the previous year all the way till the year you were born, and you are allowed to add “significant/life events” onto the slots and fill up your timeline. Prior to this, the profile page was just a 5 mins showcase of your basic info and what was your recent activity but with the new timeline, you can stalk someone dating all the way back to when he/she was born. With the new timeline and its various integrated features such as the activity map, friends you made in that particular month, and even the ability to make one of your post a featured post really added a whole new level of social integration as well as personal touch into Facebook, something that Facebook have been lacking all these while.

Some implications:

  1. “Facebook just cheated on the dating game. Now guys can do more research in order to impress a girl on how well he “knows” her.”

  2. Timeline, you make me want to use facebook again. Well played, Zuck 🙂
  3.  Facebook is gonna kill Foursquare off because every check in into Facebook will add onto your timeline. as opposed to Foursquare which uses the element of gamification to motivates users to keep on checking in.
  4. Users will be even more hooked onto Facebook because the time spent on other user’s profile will increase by a lot more.

Obviously the whole redesign of the profile page have achieved its objective and although people are gonna complain about the change, they are gonna get used to it and once again, Facebook redefined the way human interact with each other online. Facebook announced all these new features last nite on F8 and was glad to be there online and watch it happen. =)

Implications for startups:

  • With the new timeline, users are gonna spend even more time on Facebook and this creates even more opportunities for startup founders.
  • Other than the new timeline, a whole new class of apps are also introduced: the open graph app which allows users to share with their friend what they are doing through Facebook. Illustration: If i am listening to a music, and Facebook status updates me as listening to say “Club can’t handle me”, you can click on the side ticker (status update bar) and can instantly listen to the music that i am listening. This opens up a whole new variety of startup opportunities which provides value added services that engages both users.
  • Eg: Someone can create a site that allows users to rate each other in terms of their music taste. Or, someone can create a platform that allows users to share files directly through the Facebook status updates. Take the deals site for example, if Groupon could leverage on the open graph feature, and allow users to share the deals that they are enjoying with their friends which then allow their friends to be redirected to Groupon with just a single click on the open graph status upgrade, it can mean a lot to regain a huge market share. I am confident we will see major sectors, from music to reviews to commerce, revolutionized by authentic friend-to-friend interactions.
  • The new timeline and open graph can also kill a lot of startups. Take Foursquare for example. I’ve downloaded the app just a few days ago and have been checking in since (because I want to win the badges) as opposed to checking into Facebook like what i usually do. With the new Timeline, now I revert to checking into Facebook simply because it take notes of it and integrates it into my activity map on the new timeline. Not quite sure how Timeline will affect the existing apps and games though because I don’t use them.
  • Super excited because we are gonna see a whole new classes of startups coming up again. =)
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