New Facebook Timeline Apps Introduced, Taking Advantage of Open Graph Integration
Facebook introduced its new Timeline feature last year, and has since enabled all accounts to upgrade their profiles to the new Timeline interface. With Timeline, your user profile becomes a flowing reverse-chronology of relevant account updates. Now, users can also add apps to their Timeline for better personalization.
Facebook’s applications take advantage of the Open Graph platform in sharing content from third-party sources. According to director of platform Carl Sjogreen, these apps let users provide updates on their activities as they happen. At present, 60 Timeline apps are available, including Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot and TripAdvisor, among others.
Apps like TripAdvisor and Gogobot, for instance, allow users to show instant updates on where they have traveled, or which places one is reviewing on these user-contributed sites. Entertainment apps like Rotten Tomatoes will automatically share your movie ratings and reviews. These apps will pull content from their original source, and post these on the user timeline for public consumption.
Information Easily Shared, But What About Privacy?
Facebook says once an app has been added, these will automatically provide updates to one’s timeline. But users have control over the updates displayed, and these can be hidden from Timeline view as easily as one would hide other types of posts or updates. Sjogreen says the social network is adding even more apps to the mix, which should include different interests in the future.
Facebook’s Timeline is now the default profile display, which is likewise viewable on mobile browsers and Facebook’s mobile apps already. Some early reviews say Timeline required a big adjustment over the previous static profile formats. Likewise, Timeline has been criticized for being foremost a data-mining activity by Facebook, in which user-activity trends and preferences are allegedly being sold to advertisers. This, added to the fact that updates and even clicks from third party sites can result in Timeline updates, has raised a lot of questions on privacy.
Even amid criticisms, Facebook is reportedly planning to push its big IPO this year, potentially making it one of the most valuable public technology companies today. And with close integration with third-party services, Facebook is fast becoming the one-stop-shop for just about any content and information a user wants.
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