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Facebook Timeline (facebook.com)
314 points by arnorhs on Sept 22, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 176 comments

I'm amazed I'm the only one it seems that things this is pretty lame and not going to be that popular. People _already know_ your life story, that's usually why their your (at least close) friends. Do you really want to see your workmates "life story"?

For those that think this is genuinely going to be a good and popular thing, could you explain why? You probably all know much better than me, so I am interested to hear why people think this'll be popular (which they obviously do, looking at every other comment here!)

I guess it could be useful to turn Facebook into a dating site - is that the bit I'm missing?

Edit: To downvoters: I'm more than happy to accept I'm wrong, I'd just like to know why I am. Cheers.

I think this is more geared towards the narcissist in all of us. You read your own timeline, not your workmates'.

I hate to be a tin foil hat on this, but it really seems like a perfect way to get people to turn over even more personal/private information (especially the kinds they don't usually post in a day-to-day status update, like date of graduation, age, schools, etc) for Facebook to sell to advertisers.

Facebook doesn't sell anyone's data to advertisers - we let advertisers target ads based on certain criteria. I'm curious what makes you think we sell people's data? (I'm an engineer at Facebook.)

Perhaps I am generalizing too much - what I truly meant was this feature enables Facebook to have even more fine-grained criteria on which to sell ads.

Which criteria?

Criteria like age, location, education, interests etc. You can see the entire list when creating a Facebook ad: http://www.facebook.com/ads/create/. But the advertisers don't get to see what belongs to who, unless someone clicks on an ad, buys something and they backtrace all of that. They only target it.

Not a chance they would sell data, that would be a one-off! You want to "rent" access to the data clusters to advertisers without providing them ways to bypass you in the future!

Very, very good point. I don't know why I didn't think of this. Thanks!

I often receive friend requests from people who I have recently met through work, going out, friends of friends, etc.

It seems like it would be a good way for these people who know a little bit about me to quickly learn a little more about me.

The tragedy is that online profiles are becoming so efficient at conveying personal stories that there's nothing left to talk about face to face.

"I had a wonderful time at Yellowsto--"

"I know."

I experienced this when I first tried out online dating. One of my first dates felt more like our 3rd or 4th so it really was hard to break the ice.

I took this to mean that before you met in real life, you researched the other person so intently you felt like you'd spent 2-3 evenings together (talking) already? Is that what you meant?

I dunno, in my experience OKCupid profiles (the best available online dating site the last time I was single) were just a thin veneer of bullshit designed to sell only the best qualities. Nothing wrong with that per se but I never felt like I learned anything real about a person other than a few facts sprinkled in here and there.

"In my experience OKCupid profiles (the best available online dating site the last time I was single) were just a thin veneer of bullshit designed to sell only the best qualities."

The same could be said about meeting people in real life.

No research. We just exchanged a few emails before we met.

I often have to have about 15 minutes of background talk when I meet someone about stuff I already know about them because I Googled them. Certainly I have to pretend I don't know all these things for the sake of not being awkward. :)

Agree and I probably wasn't clear in my original post. This does seem like a neatish feature, but (at least) some of the comments seem to make it sound like it's going to totally revive Facebook, which I can't see.

Any new feature has to be a good thing though, I didn't express that clearly (at all?) in my original comment.

I have to agree with you; I couldn't care less about this feature.

So true; I welcome the addition but I don't expect it to revolutionise Facebook!

Though I disagree that any new feature is a good thing :P

From my understanding, the timeline will feature your most recent activity and then summarize the rest of it. Therefore you only really drill down on the people you're interested in learning more about anyway. If it's just a random coworker, you'll focus on the above-the-fold recent activity.

It really makes sense to me... When you get down to the "show more" link at the end of a friend's profile what you really want is a summary of the important stuff beyond that. It actually reminds me of when you got the bottom of your feed on friendfeed and were presented with a "best of day" link.

I dunno, I just enabled it and I'm liking it.

I'm wondering why my events are visible to the public though.

Dont about the downvotes. It's probably because you haven't used the timeline features yet.

As a current user of the timeline feature (it is available to Facebook developers), I am amazed and almost creeped out about how easy it is for me to see back to the very day that I joined Facebook, and to easily review all my interactions since then. I can assure that you will be too.

Yea I've just found out how to enable it and have been looking at it. It certainly is initially exciting, but is it a killer feature? I have my doubts. That said I appreciate everyone (yourself included) that took the time to explain their POV in detail.

honestly, i was worried too. but after setting up my timeline, it looks quite nice. one of the unused assets of facebook and twitter are our past activities on them, it is more profound in case of twitter, where consuming our past tweets is really a bad experience, honestly i dont know it would add much to the twitter experience. the other end of this spectrum is the photos experience in facebook. no matter at what time you added a photo in facebook, there is this photos app to make it easier to consume it all at a time, and checking out the albums of a friend/stalkee/victim is one of the things i would do most of the time when i am in their profile. now with timelines, you will be knowing more about the person, and i think i will be spending quite some time checking out friends timelines similar to albums. even though some what skeptical at first, after using it, i quite like it. it is not clumsy at all.

Because people love revisiting the past.

Lol, reminds me of a season 9 episode of king of the hill. Not sure which one anymore. After half way I think.

One of Hank Hill's employees shows up on his doorstep demanding he hang out, but Hank refuses to mix work and personal relationships.

Just thought I'd share :P

This in short is a great piece of design. Especially coming out of facebook this is amazing (well they now have one of the most talented designers so not that surprising).

However, as a business this is killer and shrewd. Everyone would want to save a log of their life. More app permissions to add to timeline > more auto posts in ticker > more connection for Facebook.

Well played!

Disclosure: I am working on something similar as a place for all the memories of your life (http://momment.com) so the above text comes in view of having actually thought about this problem for months now.

How cool is this going to be for kids who grew up with Facebook and their kids and their kids' kids? I would love to have had insight to this level of detail for my ancestors.

Do you really believe that facebook will be around for 4 consecutive generations while retaining the data that was entered there?

The question really is "Do you believe the data will be around for 4 consecutive generations, in some form?" And my answer is that yes, yes I do.

Especially as storage becomes cheaper and cheaper. I think if something were to happen to Facebook we would see a GeoCities like effort and everything you posted publicly would be backed up.

That's when they will start charging for access ... gateway to your family history

You could always follow the old-fashion method of keeping a journal. Maybe modernise it a bit and have a digital one with, wait for it, images and videos!

I love keeping a journal and have done so for a fair few years quite diligently and before that, on and off. I have friends who have journals from their grandparents and some even further back.

Would you trust FB with that data? I certainly would not. Nor would I trust ancestry.com.

Yep. And I wish there was a way to capture everything in my life in this Timeline-like fashion, without any extra effort from me.

The one condition I have, though, is that I don't share it with anyone except someone I explicitly want to share it with. With everything being absolutely private and in my control to carry with me, by default, it would be killer. But this could well be opposite to Facebook's own direction.

All-in-all, this is a rehash of the news feed with a few more controls. But the presentation is really nice.

I always figure my life is archived thoroughly enough by the e-mails I send and receive for me to reconstruct any period in reasonably high resolution.

Depends on who you mean by 'anyone except someone I explicitly want to share it with'. You will most likely be able to decide which fb users have access to it, but it will nevertheless be accessible (albeit in some condensed form) to advertisers.

This is iPhoto events, at least for me. I call it my wayback-machine :)

You will not be disappointed then by what we are cooking up.

Cool, it looks interesting. I put my email on the list. I hate hate hate the "sign up your friends now! The more you sign up, the earlier you get in!" thing that shows up after I do. I don't know anything about your site, so I'm not going to go recommend it to anyone.

I can see how the practice started; help spread the word. It just doesn't inspire confidence in me for a site where I'm going to end up posting all sorts of details of my life...

Still, I'll be interested to check it out myself once I can.

Keep going with it. I started a similar (short-lived) site a few years ago.

At the time I think I got too caught up on the idea of it being all my own data. You could easily make it pull in data from Facebook (as well as your own data and other places). I think the gain of a dedicated app is that it won't change when the next idea for a profile comes along. Also, you can probably do an even better and more useful job if that is all you are focussed on.

Good luck!

Cool, I've signed up for the beta.

I'm curious though, you seem fairly upbeat about FB's entry into the space - does them doing so make you any less enthusiastic about your product?

Well it is not the happiest day of my life. I first had this idea when I was looking at these pics on my hard drive and mobile that were years old and yet I had never shared them anywhere because they were just private bits of my life. That is when I read more about it and laid my hands on "Total Recall" and that gave a whole new dimension to the idea.

I am kind of sad actually when I realise that when in say a month from now I launch the product, people would think it was inspired by FB or is atleast something similar.

That said I think merging apps and everything else out there is a bit tricky since what you end up remembering about your life are moments by people and cherishing the experiences. Not by what song you are listening to, what movies you watched and stuff. Or maybe that is just for the emotionally bent folks like me. So we will see how people respond to what is essentially a very natural way to cherish our lives.

Yes. I think there's a real place for this sort of thing. Best of luck.

I wouldn't place all my bets on that. Remember facebook with profile boxes? Bloat. "Click to see more boxes". Yes, some people may rush to upload their childhood pics, but what happens 3 months later? How many people will go through the hassle of scanning old pictures when they know that facebook may overhaul the profile 1 year later? I 'd rather have a dedicated site for my old photos... And, importantly how often do people read blog archives from 2 years back?

I read a lot of older blog articles... when they are presented in a fashion that makes them accessible. Generally they are not, unless you are searching for keywords.

This IS a great design. What isn't is the new front page with four columns; two that are actively updating content. The simplicity of the timeline looks wonderful, but man that new front page is daunting

I'm not really impressed with the design, but nothing out of FB has ever impressed me in the slightest. Maybe I'm just predisposed to be biased on this.

Does anyone here remember when Facebook had this feature back in 2004/2005? It was a little simpler, but exactly the same idea. They killed it a long time ago, but I guess they just decided to bring it back.

The dude in the video has sure aged and accomplished an impressive amount in Facebook's 7 year history.

Facebook used to be more of a social network for finding people you don't know, and now it's a social network for the people you know.

I really miss searching through profiles. I made a lot of friends randomly that way at my school. I'd click on a band name, a movie, a person or anything, find all the people that liked that band, find out a person was really awesome, hang out with them, etc... Then you could find people at other schools, people that went to your high school, etc... which was also really nice because I went to 8 different schools over 5 years and lost touch with a lot of people. I became better friends with people who used to be just acquaintances. I probably added 2/3 of my friends now on facebook within

Myspace didn't have anything close to that, just name search, and facebook has sort of regressed into that largely in the name of privacy I'm sure.

"Facebook used to be more of a social network for finding people you don't know, and now it's a social network for the people you know."

That's because within the first couple years they figured out that over 90% of their users were primarily using it to connect with people they already knew. (And these were the folks who were both early adopters and college students.)

Also, if you design a social network around meeting new people then that network will cap out relatively quickly and die due to 'triadic implosion'. This is where person A is friends with person B and C. Once person B meets person C, the open triad becomes a closed triad. I forget the exact percent, but once the closed triads are more than a certain percentage the entire social network dies. However, networks that are designed to connect you with your existing friends don't run into this problem.

Also, designing the social network around your existing friends is more conducive to generating lots of new content cheaply and often automatically by using exterior behavioral residue, which is essentially what this new update is all about. Originally Facebook was designed around the existing social science combined with Zuckerberg's intuition, though at this point Facebook is mostly designed around its own proprietary social science that has been created for internal use. In the short run they are maxing out their stickiness before the IPO, though in the long run it wouldn't surprise me if they ultimately undermine their original appeal by straying too far from the basics.

> but once the closed triads are more than a certain percentage the entire social network dies

I'm pretty sure you're misinterpreting a research paper that I'm familiar with. A common measure of network structure is the clustering coefficient, which is the ratio of triads to all possible triads. In real networks, the average clustering coefficient is generally orders of magnitude less than 1%.

Besides, the network is continually growing, and people generally continually meet new people. It's highly unlikely that the FB network is going to stagnate because "everyone already knows each other". At least not for another decade...

Perhaps, this is the paper I'm thinking of:


Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of it on my computer to check. This was my understanding though from the last time I looked at it:


I've just experienced how a year or so of hardcore meeting people in college soon turns into years of participating in cliques. I don't think they've neglected the new user experience but to keep you around for long periods of time they have to provide lasting value.

Badoo and dating site are for finding people you don't know :-)

You're right! And there would be intervals when Facebook had no data about you, so it would say "you went into hiding."

As a long-time user, I enjoyed Zuck's history of and return to the profile as a point of creative focus. In the early days, it was the only space to "perform identitively" (in danah boyd's phrasing), so we all sweated over what interests and favorite music to list. Much of that got lost in the switch to the News Feed.

That said, I think many of us will be disturbed to rediscover how much data Facebook has on us--pictures of long-forgotten parties, etc.

Actually I thought that video at the top and what they've done with this introduction/demo page was more interesting than the feature itself.

The high-production value of video at the top reminded me of an apple advert, with beautiful photography and that emotionally charged soundtrack (though the playback quality was a bit off for me?) And then as you scroll down it highlights the different sections in quite an elegant way.

One flaw I saw is that the layout is fixed with and centered, and presumably fixed to be the same width as the actual ui, but they've got some tips in the side bar on the right, which you don't see unless your monitor is wide enough. My window was 1200+ pixels wide and the comments on the side were clipped.

It was very "Dear Sophie", that google ad.

I think the idea didn't catch on because it has an obituary feel to it.

"showed a cool movie of a guy's entire life on Facebook's Timeline, but I was nervous they would go to the death part." -Kara Swisher

All the companies are robbing each other and sticking a title on it calling features new an revolutionary this is basically Apple's time machine/Auto Save feature on Lion and twitter integration but nicely done in one package actually make me really not want to use it I like the modular approach to social networking and apply this model to many thing in my life

I know you were being a bit sarcastic with the history comment, but you can add things to the timeline. So theoretically you could go back add pictures from way before facebook's launch.

I can't help but think of bitrot.

You spend an afternoon "scrapbooking" in real life, and you get something that your grand-grandsons might, one day, inherit and read in awe.

You spend an afternoon scrapbooking on FB, and in ten years FB goes bust or whatever (Geocities, anyone?), and you've got nothing.

I guess the real test will be my wife -- she loves scrapbooking.

(this, and the first time I went through the presentation my brain was screaming MYSPACE really, really loud.)

Never mind them going bust in ten years, in a year or two they'll redesign part of the site again and lose it anyway.

For example, a while back they managed to lose parts of my profile (something to do with "pages" I think), and I used to be part of a group for my year at high school which, as far as I can tell, has silently vanished.

If it was an old-style group, it's gone from your profile, but you might be able to still see it here: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=2361831622. However, they are apparently now "scheduled to be archived" and converted into new-style groups: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18966

They need to sell/provide an annual "yearbook" via shutterfly or some service automatically. Say $50 per year and you get a physical book with all your timeline info and experiences each year. with a fold out tab/page at the beginning and end so you can physically connect the books together side-by-side each year to flip through. As well as a DVD.

We're building a competitor app that solves this problem simply - we send you a book. Check us out - http://myscribr.com

I have my grandmother's family tree research, which I could wax poetic about, but... it's kind of illegible, and only made sense to her.

Sure many people will spend time curating their timeline, but I think that for most people an algorithm will just select the best stuff.

Nobody is stopping people from continuing to scrapbook, but let's face it, not many people do that anyway (I know that I don't). Now, with 0 additional effort on the user's part, he or she will have a digital scrapbook. I think that's pretty cool.

I just downloaded an html version of facebook profile before deactivating the account. It's got almost all the content you could call yours in it and it's presented in an easy to use way. You don't get everything, but it wasn't nothing.

I just deleted my account without downloading anything. I just dont see any value in tht stuff...

For what it's worth, you can download your Facebook data here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=account (see "download your data" at the bottom).

Whatever happened to just "being a utility"? All of these new features really don't line up with Zuckerberg's vision of Facebook.*

*At least my impression of his vision, given that he often describes Facebook as a utility.

Edit: sorry, what did I say that was so offensive? In every single interview I've seen with Zuckerberg, he talks about Facebook being a utility. How does adding various features (like the timeline) correspond with that at all?

"FB as a utility" can happen only if they maintain their humongous userbase.

Nobody signs up to FB "because I'll have a single-sign-on identity to use somewhere else"; they sign up to interact with their friends/family/peers, play silly games and post pictures of their cats. Zuckerberg has to constantly throw them a bone to keep them sweet while he goes spreading "Like" buttons and SSO apis through the web.

The way he's managed to eat Google's lunch for five years, by coming to the SSO problem from a completely opposite trajectory, is impressive and quite cunning in its own way. I do believe however that in the long run G+ will probably do to them what IE did to Netscape.

Not sure why this is downvoted, it's a valid point. It has become less of a utility. Facebook messaging is akin to AOL e-mail. Let me access my data and interact with my friends in a Google-way of efficient minimalism please.

Only upvoted because I don't understand why people downvoted this comment.

Its one thing to disagree or have different opinion but this guy was not rude, offensive, or ignorant with what he said.

If you don't agree reply with a counterpoint or just don't upvote.

This was the first time in awhile I got that "evil empire" vibe from something. Not to say that what Facebook is doing is inherently evil, but something about cataloging life into such a precise order seems...strange. From a technical standpoint, however, what Facebook has achieved is quite impressive. The design is gorgeous as is the interaction (and that's speaking without having actually used it). This definitely marks an exciting and encouraging time to be in this industry, but I hope it doesn't mean that we'll be living life via the timeline.

Looks like a digital, semi-automated scrapbook. From my understanding, it's not an overhaul of the profile, but another view of your online identity. If they pull it off it could be pretty cool.

The examples that they are showing look awesome. I wonder if they will surface ex-girlfriends as "important" parts of your timeline.

I have always wondered why people are so shamed of their past emotions. Ex-girlfriends are part of your life, part of who you are even if you don't want to admit it.

I suspect it to be somehow a configurable feature or you can always remove those manually.

It's not a matter of being ashamed of ex-girlfriends (maybe sometimes it is). The problem is my wife doesn't want to go on my Facebook profile and see pictures of a dozen ex-girlfriends. And I don't want those showing up in there automatically and having to explain.

I see your point and it's a good one but humor me.

What is there to explain? Why doesn't your wife let you be the person you are?

Of course she does. I don't even know with any certainty that she would dislike my having pictures of exes in my Facebook profile. I don't know that she would want any kind of explanation either.

What I do know is I roll my eyes every time a piece of mail shows up from her old IRA account with her previous married name on it. I know I would be uncomfortable with a bunch of pictures of old boyfriends and an ex husband mixed in with pictures of us and our son on Facebook. I realize she has a past and that's part of who she is now, but I am perfectly happy to leave some of those things in the past. I don't need or want daily reminders. I don't think she does either.

Given my own feelings about the issue, I choose to treat her the way I want to be treated.

Where's the line?

Rating how good your past girlfriends were in bed? Describing how you had the best valentines day with a previous girlfriend, and not with your current wife?

People like to believe they're special. Talking too much about ex-gf/bf's is a recipe for disaster. They can't handle the truth!

Do you tell your wife her ass looks big as well? ;)

> Where's the line?

Wherever you and your wife (partner) deem it to be.

> Where's the line?

Apparently, it's wherever Facebook decides it is.

Why doesn't your wife let you be the person you are?

I don't think you should take a condescending tone toward another man's wife in order to prove your bizarre point of principle.

That would come at the expense of letting her be who she is.

I chose ex girlfriends as an example, it could be anything in your past that was "important" but you would rather not have highlighted (e.g. jail time, gang affiliations, being a Backstreet Boys superfan).

They give you control to add / remove things from the timeline so it probably won't be an issue, I'm just curious how they handle those topics.

> Ex-girlfriends are part of your life, part of who you are even if you don't want to admit it.

So are pilonidal cysts. But you may not want to broadcast all parts of your life to your entire Facebook friend list.

Good question. I'd imagine that's part of the logic behind giving you "complete control" :) I'm also interested to see how they associate old photos and other pre-Facebook content with dates.

It's done by date posted, but you can edit those dates. I am going to look into whether the API can change timeline dates programmatically, since OurDoings is perfect for backfilling a timeline semi-automatically with EXIF data.

You can control it, so you can hide or show whatever you want. However, in my case anyway, my ex-girlfriends have fundamentally shaped who I am and I would keep them visible in my timeline because of that.

They do. Went to 2009 and Facebook highlighted when I became friends with her. Sigh.

Looks like a digital, semi-automated scrapbook.

It is also starting to look a lot like what myspace was. Of course, without allowing customization, they could make it look a lot cleaner and meaningful but only time will tell.

It pretty much is a digital scrapbook. I think allot of FB users will like it. I personally don't see a need for it though.

However I can see the people who currently use scrapbooks and are on fb, really use it on fb.

As a business decision, I think it's a good one. It will keep some of their customers engaged. I am curious to which demographic will really like the feature.

I am banking that fb thinks that the "popular" users will really use it. By "popular" I mean user(s) in any fb graph, that have the most profile views from other users in that same graph. The users that in a fb graph, people want to keep up with the most.

Those users I think don't necessarily have to be early adopters. They are just popular.

FB as business to grow just has

1.) Maintain Users 2.) Have Current Users use the site more and create more content on it

That is probably why we are seeing more and more features to keep users engaged.

Moms were scrapbooking before nerds. This profile could do a lot for Facebook's growing older population.

It will be interesting if/how this affects Facebook as a platform for apps.

Apps appear to be more visible in this design, as well as having more of a purpose. Perhaps part of the motivation of this design was to encourage developers to make use of the Facebook platform.

It may be a good opportunity for web apps to make their users more public about their choice of apps. While apps can currently publish to a user's wall, I prevent this from happening because it seems spammy and pointless, but I wouldn't have an issue with an app having a dedicated space on my profile where it displays specific information.

This is great.

The majority of social networks and social sharing sites are obsessed with the now. This stemmed from Facebook and Twitter pioneering the UI with the timeline format. However, try to go back really far in any timeline, and you'll usually be greeted with a wall.

Timeline will hopefully make Facebook (and other sites) realize the potential there is in browsing through and curating older content. Sure, people will still be obsessed with the newest stuff, but at least there will be a way to open up the time horizon a bit and reflect on the forest.

As the FB generation grows up to become grandparents, it'll be fascinating for the grandkids to actually see a complete and browsable timeline of their grandparents. Just imagine if you had that today.

Sidenote 1: FB is now starting to encroach on 1000memories's space.

Sidenote 2: FB should really sell automatically generated (but high quality) timeline storybooks. Parents and relatives would go crazy for that.

Just to make sure, you do realize you are talking about an eight-year-old website and making predictions about how its users will behave in approximately thirty years, right?

Oh don't get me wrong. I think it'll be a longshot that well be browsing our timelines on FB in 30 years. But, i am an optimist: I believe our data will still be accessible in some form in a more federated manner by then.

I've heard a lot of people on HN call Facebook a toy, which at some point was probably a fair criticism. This is the first thing I've seen from Facebook in a long time that truly feels like important and worthwhile work.

"truly feels like important and worthwhile work"

Would you please care explaining why?

I think timeline addresses some common needs and desires- personal reflection, recording your experiences, bonding over shared experiences. The profile and news feed have always seemed tailored to a certain type of content- what's happened recently. But it never really seemed important and the profile doesn't help you know someone. It feels like timeline lowers the virtual barrier between participants in online communication and lets them express themselves in a meaningful way. It feels like a departure from frivolity.

Of course, I have only seen the pitch at f8 but I haven't used the product yet so right now I think exactly what Facebook wants me to think :)

So the question is if you want to live your life on Facebook are you also willing to document your life on Facebook?

What comes next? Genealogical charts? Medical records? That's not how I want to use Facebook.

My only response is "sweet, now I can quit trying to do that banner-across-the-top-photo-thumbnails thing on my burlesque identity's page". Anything else is lagniappe.

Wonder what Freeman and Gelernter think about it.


Have they added a way to change the date on a photo? Because those scanned 80's photos in the demo aren't going to show up in the 80's if you uploaded them in 2010.

Edit: Sounds like you drag the existing photos to the timeline to add them in the appropriate place. Better than nothing...

Timeline wouldn't work without a way to change the dates.

Is this similar to http://path.com?

It's what Path is trying to capture, but they're such a new service that they don't have the problem of displaying multiple year's worth of data (in their case photos). If people keep using the service, I'm sure they will eventually have to come up with a better way to find the most interesting moments.

Way better than path. This allows a level of interaction and intimacy (if they offer good integration with lists, which conveniently got 10x better last week) that you can't achieve on path.

I think a lot of mom's are going to enjoy this. Younger people may like it too, especially girls, but mother's are going to have a field day creating a scrapbook like this with Facebook.

Looks really interesting. Wonder if G+/Picasa will be creating a similar feature - I've almost moved away from facebook completely.

If everything happens as Mark Zuckerberg envisioned with this timeline then they have to make sure that they save all the information to last thousands if years. If our civilization ends one day and archaeologist from the future discovered Facebook's servers preserved it will tell them everything they need to know about us as a people. How we lived our lives, our dreams, our aspirations, the challenges we overcame. Just imagine if the Romans had this 2,000 years ago, we will see post like "Today I almost died fighting this gladiator from Gaul, good thing he got jumped by that lion first!" I wonder how many likes that post would have made, of course it would be in Latin.....LOL

I didn't watch the Keynote, but based on Nicholas Felton's feature on the timeline page and what I've read, Facebook gave him a lot of credit.

For those who don't know, Felton is a graphic designer hired in April [http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663718/facebook-hires-infograph... for more info].

The simple graphical layout of Timeline in the preview page reminds me of MySpace. But given how Felton is a big part of this. Facebook's designs have largely ebbed and flowed, but this looks like a cool concept and Felton's involvement has me excited.

This is really smart.

Those years of updates and photos on the timeline are data that only Facebook has. It's a unique asset and they're putting it front and center.

If people like the timeline a lot it will be an enormous barrier to entry for competing social networks.

I have been an internet junkie for ages, but i beg to differ. While fb has made it a norm it seems about sharing information, i dont think it is as inherent in the human psyche to share everything than getting what you need.While it served its purpose of making the web more open and engaging, a more fundamental trait is the concept of need and selectivity, which is what makes each individual unique.And due to the traction FB has gained over the past half decade, i think the web overall has missed the point, addressing individuality in terms of what you do instead of who u are, and what you need.

Looks like a ripoff of Google's Dear Sophie, without the emotional impact.

I had to look up "Dear Sophie", and it was a great video. However, the underlying tech is just email with attachments - nothing new. Facebook's timeline seems to be quite a bit more, with a visual aspect and ability to comment, share, etc. It's probably been done before but far from a ripoff of email...

What is the underlying tech supposed to be in that video? A blogger blog? A GMail account?

Interesting to note that Facebook Timeline uses Microsoft's Bing maps for all mapping presentation. Direct shot across Google's bow?

I'm a Facebook developer and followed these instructions from none other than TechCrunch to get my timeline profile up and running.


In any case, I thought the Bing Maps integration is a pretty significant item to note the growing competition between Facebook and Google on the social scene.

Also, Microsoft owns part of Facebook, so there's that.

Facebook has been using Bing maps since Places was launched.

It's in a similar vein to the recent Skype integration.

Have I missed any Spotify - Facebook announcements? I know there's been some buzz on FB live-streaming music - this seems to indicate (in the Apps section) that it will do so using Spotify.

Actually.. it's being discussed right now. Spotify CEO just walked on the stage.


The conference just started an hour ago so you haven't missed much.

A tangent: I allow G+ to auto-upload the pictures and short videos that I take with my Droid. Since I spend a little time deleting all but my favorite pictures and videos, this will eventually be a good private timeline (private because auto-uploaded material is not public until you share it).

If someone spent a few minutes a day also annotating pictures and videos then this would be a good resource for remembering the past.

Hopefully Google Takeout exporting facility will soon also provide download ZIPs for auto-upload materials.

Looks like a Flipboard of your life, plus you can customize its content for different groups of visitors. Glad FB is focusing on design, it looks beautiful.

For some of us, best thing about facebook will always remain the same: not to have a facebook profile at all.

What happened to catching an old buddy after ages, in real life, and getting to hear each others story over a cup of coffee or dinner table. I would always prefer that to getting to know every other detail about my friends living far away, throwing every little detail of their life at me, every 10 minutes.

I imagine this just killed erly.com's collections.

What a coincidence! We implemented this kind of timeline in our DjangoDash 2011 project (Jul 30-31) - http://familyfeed.vorushin.ru/vorushins/Marta/ (source code - https://github.com/vorushin/FamilyFeed)

Their intro ad is incredibly similar to Google's ad they ran a while back documenting a kid's life story. I guess time will tell on the transitory nature of information on th Internet.

Also I loved how all his stuff only had three likes. He must have pricks for friends I only a handful of people liked his daughter saying 'dada' ;)

Call me cynical, but I can't help feel that this has been produced to convince people to provide Facebook with even greater access to their lives and what they do.

It provides a degree of justification for harvesting personal data - but perhaps negates the fact that this data is useful to Facebook as well. Smoke and mirrors ...

Google - "Tell me more about you" Facebook - "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are"

Facebook log a lot of behavioural data as well - so in a sense they are also asking 'tell me more about you'.

For extra points they should have ended the timeline with Andy Sparks in a coffin.

My thoughts exactly. I found the whole "timeline" quite trite and deeply depressing.

Spotify is alright, but I use iTunes far more and wish it could integrate.

I wonder how many businesses and hopes facebook killed today. Many of those features are things that you could imagine someone might offer as an app.

Soon they will begin to bet against their own market.

So do they want us to put up every potentially embarrassing part of our life up there as well, or I guess not? This Timeline feature is about as Stepford as you can get...

It's lifepath.me with features! Not necessarily an improvement.

This is a very nice thing to have, if it were detailed enough that I could scan it and reminisce.

But if it were that detailed, I wouldn't want it made public.

Can we timeline privately?

That's my thought too. This seems like a nice landing page for a profile, but it's trying to do two very different things. It's great for your top items, but the entire timeline history should be a different product.

How wide are Facebook's designers' screens? My laptop is 1280 pixels wide and I can't see the full width of this page.

Please cap your designs at 1000 pixels.

It should fit in 980 pixels or so, without the chat bar

Why the downvotes? I am an engineer at Facebook who worked on parts of Timeline. That was posted from my phone, but I just tried it and it definitely fits under 1000 pixels if you close the chat sidebar.

The top-level post is referring to the timeline intro page (http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline), not timelines themselves.

Isn't this basically what Path was trying to become?

This feature is giving me visions of "The Final Cut"

What would be great to use the timeline to create slideshows with the music you were listening at that time. Like a life radio station.

I'm not a big fan - I really don't like the idea that if I just connected with someone they can see updates I posted from 2007...

...this rather awesome. I think this'll be a good way to make the profiles more engaging and visually interesting. Good move!

The design of this About page looks remarkably similar to an Apple product page, the title font especially. Very well done.

It looks tumblr-inspired. I expect tumblr to get back at them with a similar timeline.

Facebook is moving further and further from the "young and cool" demographic.

The problem with "young and cool" is that there are not that many of them and they are universally poor.

Does anyone have a mirror of this, or screenshots? Facebook is blocked here!

This does look quite cool. Will be interesting to see it for real.

Ring structure! (The microphone.)

Now all they need is a text-to-speech feature to fully rip off Qwiki in this new(ish) innovation.

the myline ipad app offers a similar functionality with a cool interface.


I like how every picture on that page is of a white person.

Disgusting. Who would put their life story on Facebook? A crippled kind of human. Life is not pictures and facts, and this product pretends it is.

What is life?

Yes, while you're at it, who would put their life story in a scrapbook. Oh, wait...

You don't typically put your life scrapbook on your front porch.

Yes, and that scrapbook you're referring to is on FB's servers. Oh, wait...


This looks like a new feature rather than reinventing the main way you interact with Facebook. Your comment seems directed at the changes they made in the past few days rather than the link in this thread.

to me it looks like this is the new default layout for the website, it says "a new kind of profile" in the title and the site title is "introducing new profile." Maybe I'm wrong...

I take that back. I think you're right that they're changing the profile. After watching the video, it wasn't clear, but scrolling down the page, you see:

"Fill this wide, open space with a unique image that represents you best. It's the first thing people see when they visit your timeline."

Assuming that when people click on your name, they go to your timeline, then this appears to replace what we think of as the profile.

Facebook just announced their Timeline feature. The first beautiful interface from Facebook. A product with a lot of feel good elements but a great way for Facebook to integrate themselves even further into the life story of it's millions of users.

Facebook is trying to be a place for social groups to interact online and also for the individual self to be discovered. I don't think both can be done effectively. There's just too much noise on Facebook as it is. I think this feature, really just a visualization of the feed, will just lead to more stalker type behavior.

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