At the end of the F8 keynote, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook developers would get access to the Timeline beta today. Well true to his word, developers can indeed opt-in to the beta. One important note, during the beta phase, only other developers will see your new Timeline, normal users will see your traditional profile page.
If you have ever build an application at http://developers.facebook.com then you should now have access. I have had a strange issue in that viewing it on this laptop works, but logging in on the PC, still shows the old profile even after clearing the cache.
With that out of the way, is the new Timeline something that you want ? Answer, Yes. After spending a few minutes with it, Timeline actually makes a lot of sense. I could absolutely see myself going back through my digital photo library and completing my timeline. I started shooting digital photos in 2002 with a 4 Megapixel Kodak D4900, yet my Facebook photos only start in 2007.
The banner image at the top of your profile page is known as a Cover. You can upload a new photo or choose from an existing photo from any of your photo galleries. This makes the process of changing it very simple. To those people and services that selected the 5 profile pics at the top of your profile, sorry but they are gone.
Facebook prompts you to complete your timeline based on the information you have already completed in your profile. Take my high school for example. If you want to take it to the extreme you can add a photo at birth.
Facebook Friends, Likes, Places other social interactions are are all displayed in sections of the new dual-pane Timeline view. Having dual columns combined with the new photo tiles for albums, makes displaying a lot of information in a relatively small space. To navigate this mass of information, you use the navigation on the right to drill down not only in years, but months as well.
It is now clear that Facebook just made a massive change. Not only is it a Social Networking service, but with Timeline, it just became an archive of your life. I feel sorry for the service Memolane, the 800 pound gorilla just stomped all over you. Sure Memolane supports more than just Facebook activity, but for most users, think the benefits of sharing and archiving your life on Facebook will be enough.
If your not a developer and want to see the new Timeline ‘in action’, you can at least get a demo at https://facebook.com/about/timeline