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Facebook Timeline and Other New Features, Love it or Hate it

Facebook released a plethora of new features including Timeline, Gestures, and new class of Facebook Applications. Timeline is cool but the rest are so-so…

I have tested Facebook Timeline since Friday and I really enjoy the new profile presentation. It sports dual columns for regular items, full-width (2-column width) highlighted items, aggregated friend lists for each month or year, maps, photos, videos, likes, apps and many more. It\’s like a digital scrapbook that tallies your milestones in life and easily commemorate significant events.

Scroll down at the very bottom and FB Timeline prompts you to add baby photo for your birth day. I didn\’t upload any wedding pictures or videos in Facebook and it also prompts me to upload those pictures.

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Facebook also reminds users to remember loved ones who passed away. Adding the emotional events in your life makes Facebook unique because no one has ever done this before. I am not sure if many people will use this to remember their pets\’ death anniversary but this status will surely get the most sympathy.

You can now tell your life story from cradle to the grave.

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The creepy part is that a new breed of Facebook applications can use Facebook to tally everything that you do on the web simply by visiting a webpage with Facebook Connect.

You don\’t have to Like something. Just visit a video page and it will post your activities on your Timeline. This evolved Like button is called Facebook Gestures.

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These new breed of Facebook applications using Facebook Gestures could easily put you in awkward situation when you clicked something that you don\’t want people to know and it goes to your Timeline automatically.

Facebook should offer users granular control on what can be published to their walls or timelines and users should be more careful on what website applications they allow to access their information.

If you also enabled check-ins, your friends could access a curated list of locations on the map and it could be easily exploited by stalkers if you have one. I am not a fan of publicly announcing my whereabouts in Facebook but some people needs to expose their location for whatever reason. If I need to share my location, I choose to share my location elsewhere because I feel that Facebook already knows too much about me.

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Facebook apps have a new OAuth permission. You will authorize the application for the first time and it will warn you that it is going to share something. Afterwards, the app will never ask you again.

If you don\’t want any of these, logging out of Facebook is not enough.

Some cookies are persistent so you have to clear cookies out of your browser if you want to control what you share. You may have to deactivate application permissions manually as well.

For some people, \”frictionless\” sharing is something to look forward to. You don\’t have to bother on choosing what to tell or what to post. Just let Facebook do all the job for you.

This passive sharing creates noise. Personally, I don\’t care if you are reading an article or if you have just finished an e-book. What matters to me is your opinion or reaction to a story. So you have watched a new movie. Then what? I want to know from my friends if the movie is worth to watch not just a status that tells me they have watched a movie. \”Frictionless\” sharing kills taste and some might say it is going too far.

And with all the new features that automates sharing, Facebook can easily  produce your digital identity — in other words, your digital fingerprint. Facebook knows too much about us; probably much more than Google.

Timeline is in beta right now but you can start using it now by following these steps outlined by TechCrunch or Mashable.  Take note however that only your friends who enabled their FB Timelines will see your new Facebook profile while it is still on beta so don\’t take the trouble on activating it now when you can wait for the public release soon.

By Marck V.

Filipino IT consultant on enterprise software. On his spare time he do web project management, photography and blogging. Web 2.0 enthusiast.