Poke this! Facebook revamps user Profiles

6 Dec 2010

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The doyen of social networking sites Facebook has revamped the Profile feature for users, giving it a smoother, cleaner look, making photos more prominent and providing an unexpected prominence to the “poke” feature that many thought would be binned by now.

The new look appears to gather a quick synopsis of who the person is, who they’re in a relationship with, where they went to school and any other information the user wants to feature underneath recently tagged photos of that person.

The new look is set to go live gradually around the Facebook universe from today.

“The profile begins with a quick overview of basic information such as where you’re from, where you went to school, and where you work — the kinds of conversation starters you share with people you’ve just met or exchange with old friends as you get reacquainted,” explained Facebook engineer Josh Wiseman.

“And since there’s often no better way to learn about a person than through photos, the profile now includes a row of recently tagged photos of you. In my case, my profile features pics from my engagement and wedding, two of my life’s most recent and happiest moments.”

New look

The new look was initially announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during an interview on 60 Minutes over the weekend.

Users can also highlight friends who are important to them, such as family members, team mates or colleagues.

Facebook has also added a new "infinite scroll" feature that makes it easier to browse all photos at once.

Ultimately, says Wiseman, the purpose is to make it easier to find the people you are looking for faster and get up to speed on recent activity.

The new look also puts a "message" option on the top right hand corner of a user’s Profile page, alongside "poke" – a feature that was considered cutesy in the early days of Facebook circa 2005 but one that few lately use. I’m smelling a commercial model of some sort coming down the tracks involving geo-social interaction.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com