f8 keynote today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced two new classes of applications for the Facebook platform. In addition to communications apps and games, Facebook will support media and lifestyle apps.In Facebook's
The change is designed to feed into Facebook's "Open Graph" of user information, which has been rearranged to suit two new purposes: Filling out the user Timeline - Facebook's new way of displaying every user's curated life stream - and discovering new things with friends.
Media apps like Spotify, which Zuckerberg demonstrated in the keynote, now allow users to post their live activity, listening to music, for example, so that other friends can join in. Games can work the same way. Lifestyle apps will allow users to share their real-world activity, like a nice hike or a delicious meal. Zuckerberg wants this to create "real-time serendipity" for Facebook users.
These new kinds of Facebook activities come with an expansion of the way Facebook shares your activity with your friends. With the expansion of the user stream into a long-term Timeline, users might want to publish some events, such as reading War And Peace, as significant life events. A media app could be used to publish to that stream, but there's also a less permanent option. The Ticker that rolled out this week (the feed that floats along the right side of Facebook) is for more minor status updates, like "Jon is listening to 'Idioteque' right now." These will just float by without being published as major news. Users will now be able to choose how significant an event or activity should be.
These new kinds of apps also come with new kinds of statuses; Facebook news items will now have clickable verbs, like "Marshall is watching the f8 keynote," allowing users to explore more content that friends are watching, as well as the particular thing Marshall is watching at the moment.
Zuckerberg says that this new arrangement is meant to produce "frictionless experiences." Facebook apps used to be noisy, publishing stories to the news feed that were often irrelevant or annoying. New apps are ranked by the Open Graph, meaning that users will see activity from Facebook apps based on how significant it is to them and their friends. Zuckerberg also made clear that the Timeline is a curated stream. The user decides what goes there; it's not going to lay bare every frivolous game or change in relationship status. "You have complete control over everything on your Timeline," Zuckerberg said.
Do you like the idea of preserving Facebook activity on Timeline? Share your reactions in the comments.