NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Facebook unveiled a much-anticipated series of new features Thursday that will be rolled out in the coming weeks and significantly change the way users share content and interact with one another.
The company laid the groundwork for these changes earlier this week when it released a complete overhaul of the site’s look and feel, most notably by adding a column of real-time updates next to the news feed.
Whether or not these back-to-back changes actually improve the social networking experience for users remains to be seen, but in the short term the changes will likely make long-time users feel like newcomers trying to understand how the site works all over again. So we’ve rounded up the three biggest changes that users should prepare for in the near future.
The Facebook profile as we know it is about to get a major makeover. Until now, profiles essentially functioned like pages in a directory, providing quick details that highlight a person’s interests and background, along with any photos and updates that person might choose to share. But going forward, the layout will change drastically by being more visual and better illustrating the full scope of a person’s life.
Instead of just having a small thumbnail profile photo, users will also be able to add a large landscape picture or “cover” photo to the top of their profile page, something that will immediately give your profile the feel of being its own unique website. Beneath this photo, users will be able to include a few familiar details about themselves in writing (where they work, went to school, etc.), but the page will also more prominently display photos taken and friends added, and will even map out places you’ve visited.
The key update here is the timeline, which displays previous updates and stories you’ve shared from one year to the next. In this way, you and your friends can get a more in-depth view of you as a person. Needless to say, the goal of this isn’t to have five years’ worth of updates about what you ate for dinner each night, unless that’s what you’re into. From the profile page, users can click on a particular year and use the updates to see major milestones in that time period.