Single-column Timeline rollout complete, FB helps devs use "Sections" for apps

Facebook has announced that the rollout of the cleaned up version of the Timeline is now complete. The design that was first revealed back in March is now available to everyone.

The new one-column Timeline contains re-jigged Sections that let you add items of your interests. The Timelines now contain Sections for books you’ve read, movies you’ve watched and TV shows you like amongst other points of interest. Of course, you can choose which Sections appear as well as their positioning on your Timeline.

Ash Wahi of Facebook wrote in a blog post on Thurday that these new Sections that came along with the Timeline rollout are now seeing almost 200 million items being added daily. This is no mean feat, considering it has only been about two months since they were added onto the Timeline.

Rate your favourites

Rate your favourites


These new Sections are also a great excuse for Facebook to limit posts only onto the right side of the page. Earlier, posts used to spread across two columns on your Timeline, lending it a very untidy, laggy look. In a way, Facebook adding Sections to the Timeline is an indicator that it realised the shortcomings of the two-column design.

But assuming that the Section feature was added only to hide the issues of the two-column design would be wrong. Facebook is urging app developers to create their own Sections as a “beautiful and lasting way” to display your app on the Timeline, compared to aggregations that Facebook is no longer supporting.

When you add information about movies, books and TV shows, you will now be able to add your ratings to it. Thanks to integration with apps like Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes and Goodreads, Facebook is now allowing you to rate content directly on the Timeline as well as add ratings from apps.

These ratings will help Facebook massively when it comes to finding relevant data for Graph Search. Instead of going the long way about figuring out what it is that you like, Facebook is getting you to rate your favourites and tell it your likes and dislikes. So the next time your friends search for “Friends of mine who like Star Wars,” Facebook knows your name should figure on the list.

Facebook is also taking the friends angle seriously with content discovery using Sections. If you use apps such as Spotify, Rdio or Deezer, you can see what songs your friends currently like or are listening to with a simple click on the music Section. Facebook says that to date, more than 17 billion songs have been added to people’s Music Sections through likes and listening activity from apps. It is also allowing apps such as Nike+, Endomondo, Runtastic and Strava to feature detailed workout timing to friends using the Fitness Section of the Timeline.

Developers can create custom apps for Sections too

Developers can create custom apps for Sections too


For developers whose apps do not use common actions like listen, run, watch, read, etc., Facebook allows for the creation of custom app Sections, so you need not worry about your data not showing up on user Timelines. A lot of game developers too seem to be using custom app Sections to their advantage. You could display places the user has been to, a level he’s just completed and more using the custom apps Section.

The Sections feature seems immensely helpful and mostly clutter free. It’s customisable to a high degree and gives the user the power to pick and choose between what he or she wants to display on the Timeline. After a really long time it looks like Facebook is doing something right. We just hope that it doesn’t try to fix what is not wrong as far as the Sections go, in the near future. It would be a shame to see such a good thing get wasted.

Published Date: May 15, 2013 09:48 am | Updated Date: May 15, 2013 09:48 am