SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Facebook is dramatically redesigning its users' profile pages to create what CEO Mark Zuckerberg says is a "new way to express who you are."
Zuckerberg introduced the Facebook "timeline" Thursday in San Francisco at the company's f8 conference for some 2,000 entrepreneurs, developers and journalists. The event is also being broadcast to more than 100,000 online viewers.
The timeline is reminiscent of an online scrapbook, with the most important photos and text that users have shared on Facebook over the years. It's Facebook's attempt at growing from an online hangout to a homestead, where people express their real selves and merge their online and offline lives. The timeline can go back to include years before Facebook even existed, so users can add photos and events from, say 1995 when they got married or 1970 when they were born.
Zuckerberg took the stage after a humorous skit, in which Saturday Night Live actor Andy Samberg impersonated him. The real Mark Zuckerberg looked considerably more playful and at ease than he has in past events, suggesting he is growing into his role as the public face of Facebook.
But he quickly got down to business as he introduced the timeline as "the story of your life - all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are."
Expanding on its ubiquitous "like" buttons, Zuckerberg said Facebook will now let users connect to things even if they don't want to "like" them.
"We are making it so you can connect to anything you want. Now you don't have to like a book, you can just read a book," he said. "You don't have to like a movie; you can just watch a movie."