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What You Need to Know About Facebook's Facelift

The blogosphere reacted with a  predictable rush of excitement Sunday night after CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" to walk Leslie Stahl through a redesign of the service's user profile pages

For once, though, the predictable hyperventilation may be justified. Although these sorts of changes typically take weeks, if not months, to resonate with users - assuming that they work - the latest tweaks go quite a way toward playing up the personality of the individual user profile - and that's likely to strike a responsive chord with many denizens of our  (increasingly) me-centered social networked universe. Of particular note:

  • Lots of photos and they're bigger than ever before.
  • Relationships with lists of family and friends that you can select get played up. A "Featured Friends" tool lets you "highlight friends who are important to you, such as your family, best friends or teammates. You'll be able to create new groups of friends, or feature existing friends lists.

  • The addition of a tab, allowing you to note which teams and sports you like. (You can also share updates on projects you worked on at work or school, as well as any musical acts you are interested in.)
  • From a look-and-feel perspective, there's a change to note in the "wall" and "Info" buttons. They currently run horizontally across the top of the page. The redesign shifts them to column under the member's photo.
  • Facebook's redesign also includes a new "infinite scroll" feature promises to more rapidly browse through photos. Facebook users will be able to search by name, hometown, school, or a myriad of other descriptions.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The centerpiece of the interview was a redesign of Facebook member profiles that puts photos front-and-center, personal information packaged into a blurb at the top of the page, and custom friend groupings. It proffers a Facebook experience that's more hyper-connected and categorized than ever, with even more portions of a profile connecting to other access points on the Facebook domain--separate new fields for tagging the sports you play and the teams you follow, for example--and new ways for members to organize and "tag" their friends. You can now, for example, add a sport as an interest and tag the friends with which you play it.

"When you can use products with your friends and your family and the people you care about, they tend to be more engaging," Zuckerberg said in the interview.

Facebook has been tightening its web of social connections and intricate chronicling of activities through a series of sweeping product announcements over the course of the past few months: from Facebook Places, which brought geolocation to the site for the first time, to the enhanced messaging client to the "friendship pages" that detail two-way interactions. The redesigned profile pages, in comparison, are a relatively light addition.

For more, check out the interview by clicking on the "60 Minutes" link below.

A Tour of Facebook's Redesign
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