Facebook acquires picture sharing and social network, Instagram, for $1,000,000,000 dollars, the largest acquisition that the company has ever had on record.
At Facebook‘s f8 conference last November in San Francisco on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a major overhaul of the social network’s user profiles.
The new profile will feature a timeline that compiles your Facebook participation history like a scrapbook. Expect your entire profile page to look completely different. Photos will be bigger and new interactive options will abound.
In the spirit of the profile redesign, we’ve compiled a gallery that charts the evolution of the ubiquitous profile, from its humble beginnings as “The Facebook” in 2005 to the profile timeline introduced today, in 2011.
What do you think of all these big changes? Sound off in the opinion threads.
Facebook for iPad
With hi-res photos, games, chat and more, it’s the best of Facebook – on your iPad.
A New Way to Experience Facebook
Enjoy bigger, better photos
Your photos take on new life on the iPad. They’re big, high-res and easy to flip through—like a real photo album.
Focus on what matters
With less on the screen, it’s easier to zoom in on your friends’ photos, updates and stories.
Navigate anywhere, fast
Just tap, slide or pinch to get from one screen to another and back again in no time.
Never lose your place
Use simplified navigation to send a message, see your notifications or browse your bookmarks without switching screens.
Play games on the go
Play your favourite Facebook games wherever you are, and on a bigger screen.
Tap to send messages
A simple drop-down menu makes it easy to scan and send messages without visiting your inbox.
Facebook and Heroku
Facebook apps have long been a major segment on the Heroku platform. From scrappy startups like Cardinal Blue to Hollywood giants like Warner Brothers, Heroku’s scale-out capabilities and friction-free workflow enables these innovative companies to easily deliver great social experiences. Now, Facebook has created a fantastic new way to start building a live Facebook app instantly, powered by Heroku.
A Quick Tour
Start by going to Facebook Developers. Click Create New App and then Cloud Services → Get Started. A captcha and a button press later, and you’ve got your very own Facebook app running on Heroku! You can
git clone the app to start working on it immediately.
This screencast tells the full story:
Detailed instructions available in Getting Started With Your Facebook App on Heroku.
Heroku is a polyglot platform, so we’re offering support for the languages that Facebook developers are most likely to use. Apps are created from one of four templates, based on the language choice you make at app creation time: Ruby, Node.js, Python, or PHP.
As part of this launch, we’re including partial support for two new languages: Python and PHP. For now, these languages are only supported for apps created through the Facebook integration.
What This Means
Facebook wanted to make their new app creation process smooth and easy, and knew that they needed to embrace the cloud to do so. As the world’s most mature and powerful cloud application platform, Heroku was the obvious choice.
Our two companies share many product and engineering values, and our teams had a blast working on this together. Our goals were to deliver an integration that:
- Avoids superfluous steps, like account signup or cutting-and-pasting of config values.
- Focuses on apps, not servers. When your Facebook app suddenly gets big traffic, the last thing you should be doing is thinking about servers: you need instant scaling.
- Gets you an app running instantly. Who wants to wait around for minutes while their app “provisions”?
- Doesn’t force you to make up-front decisions about cost. You don’t need a credit card to get started, and low-volume apps on Heroku are free forever.
For all of the above reasons and more, we believe this makes Facebook and Heroku the perfect combination.
Log in to your Facebook account and visit Facebook Developers to get started.
Facebook partners with Skype to add video calling to social network infrastructure
Facebook has partnered with Skype to add a video-calling facility to the social networking site and open another channel of communication for businesses.
Skype – which is being acquired by major Facebook shareholder Microsoft - predicts a 50% increase in video calling traffic, according to the BBC.
Skype stands to increase its number of users by up to five times from its current 150 million, although there will be some overlapping of members.
Assuming Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype is confirmed by regulators, pundits say the video-calling deal will strengthen Facebook’s alliance with Microsoft, against rival Google.
Businesses that have established a presence on Facebook can now interact with partners and customers face-to-face, saving travelling time and cost.
Small and medium businesses will be able to interact with partners and customers through a single application, without the cost and hassle of setting up video conferencing facilities.
Although not the primary target for Facebook, businesses will also be able to capitalise on the site’s group chat feature alongside video calling.
The initial implementation of video calling does not include group video chat, which is one of the key features of Google+. But Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg hinted group video chat would be rolled out soon, according to the Financial Times.
Mark Zuckerberg has been studying the competition and already has more followers on Google+ than any other user – including Google chief Larry Page, the paper said.
Confirming Facebook’s number of active users at over 750 million, Zuckerberg said the rate at which users are sharing things is a far more interesting metric.
Every day, four billion things are shared on Facebook, with users sharing twice as much as they were a year ago, Zuckerberg said. Facebook expects the rate to double every year.
Facebook has a larger photo collection than any other site on the web. According to an extrapolation of photo upload data reported by Facebook, the site now houses about 60 billion photos compared to Photobucket’s 8 billion, Picasa’s 7 billion and Flickr’s 5 billion.
Photo organizing Facebook app Pixable has used data from a sample of 100,000 of its users to give some insight into the contents of Facebook’s huge photo collection.
According to the data, weekends are the most popular days for uploading photos. Middle-aged users and those in their twenties upload comparable numbers of photos, but the older group uses significantly fewer tags. Women upload about twice as many photos as men — which might be good for everybody, as recent researchsuggests photos with women in them are generally preferred.
“Guys prefer photos with girls. Girls prefer photos with girls. Pretty much everyone prefers photos with girls,” explained Pixable CEO Inaki Berenguer at a recent Social Media Week panel.
Facebook Adds New Options for Relationship Status
As a sign of growing acceptance of same-sex partnerships, Facebook has added two new options under relationship status in users’ online profiles—‘Civil Union’ and “Domestic Partnership.’ Beginning on Thursday, the new selections were being introduced in the United States and several other countries, including Canada, U.K., France, and Australia—winning praise from many equal rights’ groups.
“This has been a highly requested feature from users,” said Facebook’s Andrew Noyes, manager of public policy communications. “We want to provide options for people to genuinely and authentically reflect their relationships on Facebook.”
Previously, users only had the choices of: single, in a relationship, married, engaged, it’s complicated, in an open relationship, widowed, separated, and divorced. The new changes were created in consultation with Facebook’s Network of Support, a group that includes LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and the Human Rights Campaign.
“As LGBT people face a patchwork of relationship recognition laws, this gives people more tools to adequately describe their relationship,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. “Facebook has been a company that has tried to be inclusive of the LGBT community and this just one sign of it.”
Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters and former gay rights advisor to President Bill Clinton, echoed Cole-Schwartz’s praise. “Facebook has always been an empowering place for gay people–it’s a place you can be yourself in relative safety,” Socarides told the Huffington Post in an email. “This is a natural progression of that. In most places, gay Americans can’t yet marry but they may be able to formalize their relationship short of marriage. This change reflects that reality. Well done.”
The change represents a milestone for the LGBT community. People’s attitudes usually change long before laws and the new Facebook change is just another example of an attitude shift in America relating to homosexuality.