Facebook unveils 60+ Timeline apps – it’s all about lifestyle

19 Jan 2012

The 60+ new apps revealed to complement Facebook’s Timeline infrastructure are all about the immediate, what you are doing, and ideally when and where you’re doing it. From cooking to travel, it’s really about the DNA of Facebook’s Open Graph.

I always thought the Timeline feature and the kind of apps Zuckerberg talked about at F8 last September harked back to the early days of Facebook when it began to take off globally.

Back then people put items on their page that described who and what they were about – maps showing where they had been in the world and beautiful spirally graphs showing the extent of their social connections.

Somewhere I felt that cosy connectedness went missing – the News Feed and gaming apps took over, I felt – and the compelling idea of applications explaining your life, interests and experiences fell by the wayside.

Clearly someone at Facebook felt the same way, hence the new direction that turns your actions on the social network from nouns into verbs.

The major apps revealed yesterday include travel, food, shopping, fashion, entertainment, charity, job searches, ticketing, education, location, social sharing and even car sales.

For example, I’m a foodie so I’m looking forward to checking out Cookpad, Yummly and Foodily. My fiancée is into fashion so no doubt she’ll be into fashion apps like Pose, Pinterest, eBay and Oodle.

My new year’s resolution is to get back into fitness so apps like Runkeeper and MapMyRun could come in handy.

Familiar entertainment brands like Rotten Tomatoes, Ticketmaster and Metacafe are there along with location app Foursquare and an art-finding app called Artfinder. Autotrader is also there with car trading and motor news.

So where is Facebook going with apps?

This is ultimately about lifestyle and if Facebook intends to provide the perfect mirror to reflect your world, or provide the narration of your life’s story, then these 60 apps seem to be a great start.

“Soon, there will be apps for all types of interests, as more apps will launch over time,” said Facebook’s Carl Sjogreen.

“Whether you love snowboarding, gardening, hiking, or knitting, or something else, there will be an app for you.”

Where it could become even more interesting is in terms of mobility. If Facebook and these app partners succeed in getting users to record their experiences straight into their Timelines via smartphones, then Facebook’s much-rumoured plans around entering the mobile hardware space at some point would be greatly enhanced.

But it’s even more fundamental than that – Facebook has created a platform. If you think about your Windows, Mac or iPad screen as platforms, Timeline has become a platform space for a compelling new generation of apps.

Which makes you wonder; Zuckerberg has to be working on a Time machine.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years