Facebook revamps site with ‘Timeline’ and real-time apps

(CNN) — Facebook unveiled a new version of its website on Thursday that’s based around the idea of a personal “timeline” rather than its standard profile pages.

“Timeline is a completely new aesthetic for Facebook,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the social network’s annual conference in San Francisco.

The pages look more like blogs than a social-networking site. A large photo covers the top of the pages, stretching from one side of the screen to the other. And posts — like photos, status updates and the locations a person visits — show up below that, attached to a vertical and chronological timeline.

“We think it’s an important next step to help you tell the story of your life,” he said.

This new Timeline look will replace users’ current profile pages — but not their news feeds — within several weeks. The world’s largest social network, with more than 750 million users, just launched a new version of its homepages earlier this week.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook’s reach continues to grow.

“For the first time ever, in a single day we had half a billion people use Facebook,” he said.

The company also unveiled a new version of its app network, which also is launching over coming weeks.

Facebook users now can see what their friends are doing “in real time,” even if those friends don’t click a button to publish their activities to Facebook. By approving certain music apps, a Facebook user would allow the site to post every song he or she listened to on music-streaming service Spotify, for example.

Zuckerberg called this “real-time serendipity.”

This is “the most significant change we’ve made to our platform since we launched it four years ago,” Facebook CTO Bret Taylor said.

To promote this real-time sharing, Facebook announced partnerships with Yahoo News, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, foodie social network Foodspotting and others. These companies have created Facebook apps that can post all of a person’s activities on Facebook’s new “ticker,” which appears in the top right-hand corner of the site’s homepage.

Zuckerberg called this a “frictionless experience,” since users don’t have to click a button to publish each of their activities. If they watch a TV show on Netflix, and they’ve approved Netflix’s app, that information would just automatically appear on Facebook.

The changes will no doubt raise some privacy concerns, and some Internet users who were watching the presentation reacted negatively.

“Get ready for over-sharing,” one Twitter user wrote.

“This is just WAY too much sharing. The end of privacy,” a Facebook user wrote on the company’s live stream page.