Social Showdown: Changes to Facebook, Timeline and Google Plus

The New Timeline

Shortly after Facebook’s developer conference, F8, Facebook opened up use of its new “Timeline” feature to developers. Along with various other changes made within the past weeks, this is the largest change in a long list of recent updates made to Facebook’s interface.

This new profile displays everything from today all the way back to when you first joined Facebook. (It actually goes back to when you were born if Facebook has that information). There is also even a new spot at the top of the profile for a large picture or “cover” that you can switch out just like your Facebook picture.

As you scroll down, things seem to be scattered randomly down your timeline. At some points you will come across things now called “Life Events”, which you can also add now if Facebook does not know about them. These things include moving, marriages, graduations, etc.

Other things within your profile will also see a face lift. Within your photo page, photos of you are now split up by year with your own albums across the top. The likes page is now in two sections, the first shows likes by categories, the second shows them in the same timeline fashion that keeps popping up around the redesigned site.

Lastly there will be some new additions such as a map view which will show various locations corresponding with Facebook activity as well as an Activity Log which is a list view of all activity by year and month.

Recent Facebook Changes

Leading up to the conference today, Facebook had made numerous changes to the layout of the main news feed. Though there is much disdain from users over the ever-changing layout, they seem to be here to stay.

Chat Sidebar

The first of these changes started with a new chat. When your screen is a certain width, the chat opens and fills the right side of your screen vertically. When it first launched it seemed to show the people you contacted the most, regardless of whether they were online or not. This made it rather difficult to figure out who was available for chatting with. This was later modified to include a section titled More Online Friends which will show everyone else available. While this eased some of the hatred for the new chat, it still is confusing when most of the people in the list are currently unreachable.


Most recently, a real-time update box had been added to most pages. When the chat sidebar is open and the screen is wide enough, it is also permanently appended to the top of the list. Otherwise it sits on the right-hand side of the page, constantly updating with everything you and your friends do. It even updates regardless of if you know all parties involved.

Google Plus

I know that Google+ is nothing new to some of us, but while Facebook was updating, Google+ was opened up to the public, no invite required. For those not in the know, Google+ takes what originally drew people to Facebook and improves upon those basics. Friends and acquaintances can be grouped into things called Circles, allowing you to have different updates broadcast to different people, more the way real life works. A lot of people frustrated over dealing with Facebook have jumped on the Google+ bandwagon to see what more it has to offer. And while Facebook was taking pages out of Google’s book and attempting to replicate circles with their own Lists, Google+ was making improvements to their own features such as Hangouts, which allow up to multiple users chat face to face. They now allow Hangouts to involve mobile users, broadcast a Hangout and collaboratively share documents.


Now while I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, I see good things in Google’s future. What do you love or hate about the new Facebook changes? How do you feel about Google+? With everything new and on the horizon, I look forward to seeing how things progress.


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