Social networking site Facebook has rolled out one of the more ambitious redesigns in the company's history, unveiling on Sunday revamped profile pages designed to present a snapshot of users at a glance, what the company describes as "a new introduction."
Under the new design, Facebook is bundling basic information about users into their profiles, presenting fast facts such as their home town or occupation, "the kinds of conversation starters you share with people you've just met or exchange with old friends as you get reacquainted," Facebook engineer Josh Wiseman wrote in a blog post announcing the new features.
Facebook's revamped profiles give center stage to photos, one of the most popular features of the social network. Under the new design, each user's profile will be headlined with a row of photos in which they have been recently tagged.
Facebook made the announcement to coincide with co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday.
Facebook said it is rolling the new design out gradually, and plans to make it available to its more than 500 million global users early next year.
In addition to the new photo bar and bio section, Facebook is giving users the option to highlight their most important friends, and is rolling out new image-based features to share interests and activities.
"You can also share your life philosophy by connecting to the religions, political affiliations and people you follow and admire," Wiseman said. "All your interests and experiences are now represented with images, making your entire profile a more compelling visual experience."
The redesign offers an "infinite scroll" feature that allows members to flip through the entire collection of a friend's photos without having to navigate to a new page. The new photos section also enables users to search images by city, name or other criteria.
The initial reaction to the new profiles has been generally positive, though historically Facebook's changes, even modest ones, have been met with vigorous opposition by a small but vocal minority of the site's members.
Several users have already posted angry comments to Wiseman's blog announcing the redesign, with many complaining that the new design is cluttered and confusing. User Fay Barraquias' comments were typical:
"Please revert back to the old profile. The old one was clean and organized. This new one has everything cramped in one small space. Plus we have to re-familiarize ourselves again with the new settings."