Huzzah! Facebook’s Timeline begins global rollout

7 Dec 2011

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Facebook’s much-anticipated Timeline is beginning to roll out globally. But wait, before you get too excited, New Zealand is getting it first before the rest of the world.

“We announced Timeline in September and made it available to developers building apps on our platform,” according to a Facebook spokesperson.

“Since then, over a million people have signed up for the developer beta to access Timeline. The feedback we’ve received so far has been invaluable.

“Starting today, we are making Timeline more widely available as we measure speed and other types of performance. We’ll begin by making it available to people in New Zealand and then roll it out more broadly in the near future."

Facebook intends its Timeline infrastructure to be the narrative of most users’ lives, combining apps with the users’ innate storytelling ability via updates, photos and video.

The social graph comes to life

Timeline was first introduced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the social networking giant’s F8 conference in September. It would co-exist with Facebook’s ‘frictionless’ sharing, whereby what users are reading, listening to and watching will create a compelling swirling world of content – and life – in motion.

“Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected,” Zuckerberg said back at F8. “To help you map out all the things to be connected. In 2007, we introduced at the first F8 the concept of the Social Graph and last year we introduced the concept of the Open Graph, not only as a map of relationships and connections, but to add anything you want and connect by liking it.

“This time, we’re going to let you add anything you like and connect to an order of magnitude more things than before. Now you don’t have to ‘like’ a book, you can say you ‘read it’. Now you don’t have to like a movie, you can say you ‘watched it’.

“Before we added nouns so you could ‘like’ anything you wanted. This year we’re adding verbs.”

Timeline will be powered by mobile apps

Timeline apps, from music to travel, will be developed in order to provide a rolling narrative of a user’s life. In recent days, Facebook revealed it had bought location and travel app firm Gowalla.

Speaking recently with Siliconrepublic.com, the director of Facebook’s Developer Network Ethan Beard said many of the apps will be more mobile in orientation than web.

“We want to make it so the platform works consistently for developers across web and mobile and offers users all the same features and functionality,” Beard explained. “This is for both mobile and web developers, as well as native iPhone developers.

“We think that a lot of the apps that are being built to help people build out their Timeline, some of those apps are more mobile apps than web apps,” Beard said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com