Approximately 2.5 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook every month and 1.2 million photos are served up every second - statistics that point to the importance of Facebook as a site for sharing pictures. And although the emphasis has been on sharing, it hasn't been necessarily on the quality of photos shared.

Today, Facebook begins rolling out several improvements to Photos that will make the site much better for sharing high-quality photos. The new features include some UI changes to make browsing and uploading easier, as well as upping the pixel size for photos so that Facebook can handle higher resolution images.

Higher Resolution for Upload

Facebook will support print-quality, high resolution photos, increasing the size of photos stored from the current 720 pixels to 2048 pixels - an eight-fold increase.

Better Viewer for Browsing

The new viewer will make it easier to navigate photos and albums. Rather than going to a new page, photos will open in a light box in the center of the screen.

Easier Uploads and Tagging

Facebook has rewritten much of the code for both the viewer and the uploader. The latter allows a set of photos, as well as photos of the same person, to be more easily tagged.

In the blog post announcing the upgrades, Sam Odio, product manger for Facebook Photos, notes that the Photos feature on Facebook was initially a small project, run by only two staff members. With the popularity of photo-sharing via Facebook, it's clear that Facebook is working to make the site more photo-friendly. How this will play out for other photo sites, such as Flickr, remains to be seen.