Just about the time that an interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Facebook relaunched its "Profile" pages. The official announcement of the new product was made on the CBS news show, but it appears it was available to Facebook members before then.
Josh Wiseman, a Facebook engineer, posted one of several blogs at the social network site to describe the new profile page and its salient features. "The profile begins with a quick overview of basic information such as where you're from, where you went to school, and where you work -- the kinds of conversation starters you share with people you've just met or exchange with old friends as you get reacquainted," he writes. The new page also contains rows for tagged photos. The redesign also makes it easier for a person to highlight his friends.
It is impossible for people outside Facebook to say how much research went into the redesign, which will be available to nearly all users next year. What is clear is that the new page is largely a way to emphasize photos. Clearly Facebook knows something about users interests in photos over print. Whether that will increase engagement of users is anyone's guess.
Facebook is constantly tinkering with its relationships with "members." Not all of the results have been good. Several e-commerce features added in April caused privacy concerns. So did Facebook Places, announced in August, which allowed users to track the locations of other users. Facebook dialed back some of these changes to answer member concerns.
With over 500 million members, Facebook should not have any trouble getting feedback on the new profile page. It certainly seems benign compared to other updates the social network has made this year.