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Facebook shows off new Timeline profiles, apps and more

Facebook gave its News Feed a makeover Wednesday and many users got angry. How dare the social network suddenly change so much, after all? Well, we hope you saved some of your rage — because a lot more changes were announced at F8, Facebook's developer conference.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at F8 to give his keynote speech at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Thursday in order to share what's new and what's coming soon.

The first item on the keynote agenda? A redesigned profile page dubbed the "Timeline" which — according to Zuckerberg — is a way to present "the story of your life." When someone looks at your Timeline, he or she will be able to see summaries of the most important events in your personal history — instead of having to scroll through years of silly status updates. 

The curious thing is that Timelines aren't limited to content you've previously posted on Facebook. Instead you can actually go in and add key events, images, and similar. You can essentially compile a visual diary.

You can augment your Timeline by using apps which track books you've read, movies you've watched, music you've listened to, and more. You can also highlight specific events or posts — which are being referred to as "Stories" — and feature them (or perhaps even hide them) in order to create what you feel is the best representation of your life.

Remember how we mentioned that Facebook is adding actions other than "like" to its vocabulary? Well, now the social network is acknowledging a whole new pile of verbs.

You can now "review," "listen," "read," "watch," and so on. Don't worry though! When you add activities or actions using these newly available words, you won't be annoying a friend and spamming his or her News Feed. Instead whatever you've done will appear in his or her real-time Ticker — the recently added box in the top right corner of the Facebook homepage.

One of the key hints about all of this keynote's other announcements came from F8's motto, which All Things D's Liz Gannes reported is "Read. Watch. Listen." This motto left us expecting a new way to consume text-based news, some sort of video component, and the long-rumored incorporation of music streaming.


Turns out that Facebook is incorporating apps in a manner that allows you to see what your friends are listening to or watching in order to discover new artists, songs, movies, or TV shows. Of course, thanks to a Facebook employee's Twitter slip up yesterday, we had a pretty decent idea of how music services would fit into this whole thing.

As TechCrunch suggested after Facebook's creative director Ji Lee got a bit too excited and tweeted "The 'Listen with your friend' feature in ticker is blowing my mind. Listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE." last evening, the new app integration lets us listen to tunes along with our friends:  

Lee is describing a key feature of Facebook Music launching [Thursday]. Not only will all music you’re listening to appear in the just-launched right-side ticker, there will be a link to “Listen with your friend”, that when clicked, will allow you to listen along to the same song at the same time (thanks to the magic of scrobbling and track matching).

Over a dozen music services have partnered up with the social network to make this feature possible. You'll find that many of the companies you already use — such as Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, VEVO, MOG, Slacker, and more — have Facebook apps ready to support the feature.


While the "Watch" portion of the F8 motto has gotten little attention prior to this event, The Guardian had suggested that it is related to film streaming services which will be incorporated into Facebook in a similar way to music services. And this bit of speculation was right on the nose.

Thanks to Facebook's partnership with Netflix, Hulu, Flixster, DirectTV, and other video streaming services, you will soon be able to know exactly what your friends are watching.

There's one catch though: Some elements of this social integration may not be available in the United States just yet, because — as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained during F8 — video streaming services have to deal with some "outdated" privacy laws. (Don't worry though, those specific laws just happen to be awaiting revision right now.)


When it comes to the "Read" element of the F8 motto, there wasn't much mystery regarding what's coming. We know that Facebook wants to “act more like your own personal newspaper” and once it altered the News Feed to present your Friends' posts in what it believes is a better format, the next natural step is to tackle news from the world at large.

Thanks to Forbes' Jeff Bercovici, we knew in advance that the company was partnering with various media outlets — including CNN, the Washington Post and The Daily — in order to create Facebook apps designed to change the way you access and consume news. Sure enough, Facebook gave quick looks at both The Daily and The Washington Post apps, along with a peek at the new Yahoo News integration. The Wall Street Journal had even already provided an early sneak peek of its own app prior to F8.

These news apps will be joining a slew of other new "social" apps such as the previously mentioned music and video apps as well as some related to social gaming.

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