Ten weeks ago Facebook said it would launch Timeline in the next few weeks. Today Facebook began rolling out the Timeline user interface to users in New Zealand. Facebook's Product Manager Samuel W. Lessin made the announcement today on the Facebook blog.
We reached out to Facebook about why Timeline began rolling out in New Zealand. Here's what they said:
"As a global company, we need to gain perspective and insights from outside the US. One benefit of starting rollout in New Zealand is that it's English speaking, so we can read the feedback and make improvements quickly."
At the end of last week, news leaked that Facebook had hired Gowalla's engineers and designers, and Gowalla was slated to shut down. Will Gowalla's engineers and designers help build out Timeline? Considering the fact that Gowalla shifted its focus to telling stories based on location, the answer might just be yes.
ReadWriteWeb founder Richard MacManus guessed that the Timeline rollout has been delayed because of mixed feedback from early users.
Back during f8, Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote that "there's a risk that the new Facebook Timelines are going to look a lot like our real lives - almost exactly like them, but not quite. Far enough off to be frustrating but close enough to be creepy." Were early users creeped out by the new Facebook Timeline? Or did this whole delay have to do with waiting until early users had adapted to the new idea of "sharing"?
In the time between f8 and today, Facebook rolled out frictionless music sharing app Spotify, social news apps for the Guardian and the Washington Post. It makes sense that Facebook would hope that early Timeline users got used to the seamless sharing, which could very well ruin sharing as we know it. When will Facebook launch in the U.S.? That is still up in the air.