Facebook on Wednesday unveiled revamped profile pages overhauled to make the hot social-networking website faster, less cluttered and more spam-resistant.
The new design lets Facebook members use tabs to give priority to fresh pictures, messages, or "feeds" on main profile pages and compartmentalize mini-applications and "static" information such as curriculum vitae.
AdvertisementThe changes are motivated by feedback from users as well as a trend toward people flooding the Internet with digital content such as videos, pictures, and musings they want to instantly share, according to Facebook vice president of marketing Chamath Palihapitiya.
"We want to make sure it is easy for people to push and pull information in the form of bite-size content rather quickly," Palihapitiya said while unveiling the redesign at Facebook's office in Palo Alto, California.
"Because we want more content to be shared and created we needed to make sure the profile became simpler and cleaner. When you look at the profile today, it is actually a little cluttered."
Outside developers that write fun, functional or hip software applications for Facebook users will get to tinker with the new format beginning this week so they can "tweak" programs to fit the new profile design.
The more than 70 million people worldwide that use Facebook will get chances to "opt-in" to redesigned profile pages during a "beta" test phase in the coming weeks.
The redesign is "in flux" and the final outcome will depend on input from members, according to Facebook director of platform product marketing Ben Ling.
"Facebook has heard from users it has become slower, more cluttered and spammier," said iLike president Hadi Partovi, a leading music discovery service on Facebook and other social networks.
"I don't know if they will solve everything but I think that they are taking many steps in the right direction."
Popular mini-applications such as "walls" and "graffiti" which let friends post playful messages on each others' profiles will be under a "feed" tab for "widgets" that constantly stream updated information.
The use of online picture sharing services such as Yahoo's Flickr at Facebook is "really quite staggering" so a "Photos" tab is devoted for images, according to Facebook engineer Mark Slee.
An "Applications" tab will provide more control of settings of programs chosen for profiles, curtailing problems with software that secretly sets itself as a priority or sends itself to users' friends.
"For users now it is a little scary because you don't know what an application is going to do to you," Partovi said.
"The new model increases control for users, so they may try out more applications."
Opening its platform to outside developers that craft creative programs for Facebook users was deemed a key factor in the website's success.
Palihapitiya said Facebook is willing to work with other Internet firms, including Google, to make it possible for members of online communities to freely move their personal content between websites.
"We want users' information to be private, secure and respected," Palihapitiya told AFP.
"They should be able to share information, but on their terms. As long as that happens, we are open to working with any third party."
Facebook's plan is to walk users through a transition to the new design as the old one is phased out.
"We are pretty confident we can win everybody over," Slee said.
"We don't look at this through the lens of messing with something that works. We are focusing on innovating and making the product better."
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