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Facebook rolls out new Timeline profiles

The age of the Facebook Timeline is upon us. 

By Matthew Shaer / December 15, 2011

Facebook on Friday rolled out its Timeline functionality. Here, the Facebook homepage.

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Facebook on Friday began rolling out its new Timeline interface, which transforms the traditional Facebook profile, with its standard issue info and news feed, into something more akin to a scrap book – a "chronological, visual story of your life," in the formulation of one blogger. 

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"Timeline gives you an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments," Facebook's Paul McDonald wrote on the company blog today. "It also lets you share new experiences, like the music you listen to or the miles you run." 

Think of the new Timeline as a static presentation, as opposed to the update-centric look of the current profile. With the Timeline, you choose a "cover image," which dominates the profile; meanwhile, your "likes," as McDonald hinted, are pulled to the forefront of the display, along with your friend circles. It's a change of pace, to be sure. Early reviews of the functionality have been mostly positive. 

"I must admit that I liked playing with Facebook Timeline a lot more than I liked filling in standard profile information, but it can also quickly feel overwhelming," Jill Duffy of PC Mag writes in a review today. "With your profile, you only fill in as much as you want. With Timeline, you face a huge swath of data that you've already created, and now you're tasked with making sure it's all appropriate and what you want the world to see."

So do you have a choice? Well, not exactly. Your profile will be timelined eventually, whether you like it or not. Facebook has, however, instituted a 7-day "review period," wherein you can sign onto the site, and choose how your timeline will appear, and what information gets displayed. After that "review period," Facebook will just timeline-ify everything anyway, so you might as well take advantage of the option. 

Right now, the Timeline is only for individuals. But as Facebook hinted today, a business- and brand-centric timeline functionality may be forthcoming.  "We are currently focused on Timeline for individuals and will consider how to make consistent experiences for Pages," a Facebook rep told Mashable, "but we have nothing to announce at this time." 

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