Facebook’s new features and updates aplenty

Mark Sullivan & Jared Newman
23 September, 2011
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a bevy of features for its social network, including one called Timeline that allows you to chronologically chart your entire life via pictures, Facebook updates, Likes and places you’ve travelled to and lived. That feature along with a host of new Facebook apps are being announced Thursday in the US at Facebook’s f8 developers conference.

Another big Facebook addition will be supercharging its Open Graph technology that Zuckerberg says will allow you to share ‘everything’ on your Facebook profile and Timeline from game activity, music, movies and what you read online. Open Graph is a term used by Facebook to describe the underlying technology that Facebook uses to guess what friend activities will be most interesting to you and others. What Facebook wants to do is introduce a new breed of apps that go beyond the Like button and can shadow your activities (with your permission) when playing games, listening to music, or updating your Netflix movie cue.

Timeline of your life

With the Timeline Facebook app users will be able to add information to their timelines (for example, uploading photos from before Facebook existed) and decide what information is visible to the public, to friends and to other Facebook users.

Mark Zuckerberg shows off Facebook’s new Timeline feature

“Millions and millions of people have spent years curating the stories of their lives, and today there’s just no good way to share them,” Zuckerberg said. “We think this is a real problem, and we think that we have the solution.”

The Timeline feature is available starting today in beta form. You can sign up by following this link. Open Graph apps Movies, Music, and TV will also launch today. Zuckerberg says a longer list of Open Graph apps will be available in the months ahead.

Share music with friends

One of many new apps announced let friends listen to songs together through free streaming music services such as Spotify. When a friend is listening to a song, it’ll appear in the “News Ticker” that rolled out in this week’s redesign. Other users can click on that song, which opens a chat window so friends can talk about what they’re hearing. Those friends can then keep listening to more songs together.

Zuckerberg said the music service “isn’t trying to block you from listening to songs you haven’t bought. It’s about helping you discover so many songs you end up buying more content than you ever would have otherwise.”

Comedian Andy Samberg helped kicked off Zuckerberg’s keynote with a standup routine where he pretended to be Zuckerberg and introduced fake new features including one called Slow Poke – a Poke that takes 24 hours to reach its destination, thus allowing you cancel the Poke in the event you were inebriated or have regrets, Samberg says.

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