New Zealand First to Get Facebook's Timeline Feature

FBN's Shibani Joshi on the Timeline feature Facebook is about to launch starting in New Zealand.

Facebook Running Late With Timeline Feature

Features AllThingsD

Two-and-a-half months after Facebook promised a huge revision of its self-expression and said sharing tools were coming soon, users and developers are still waiting.

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Way back in September, Facebook told the world it was launching two major changes to its service -- a revision of user profiles called Timeline that would make them more substantive and beautiful records of people's lives, and Open Graph tools for developers to automatically share activity by logged-in Facebook users to their Timelines and friends.

Facebook did not give a firm date for the new launches, though it indicated they would be ready soon. "We're going to roll [Timeline] out widely over the next few weeks as we polish all the edges," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told developer and press attendees in his keynote at f8 on Sept. 22.

But now we are already in December and those tools have yet to arrive. Why the delay?

"We wanted to let developers to build on the platform and to give users more time to get used to the idea of change coming," a Facebook spokeswoman told AllThingsD, noting that Facebook has been criticized in the past for rolling out products in a hurry. She did not offer a launch date or estimate.

Developers say they are eager and ready to launch their Open Graph tools, but that Facebook keeps pushing its dates back. In recent developer communications, Facebook's promises to launch "before the end of the year" have segued to January, the developers said.

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Developers also said they are worried that Facebook has told them it will likely run a staged rollout, where all users might not receive access at the same time, and where users would have seven days to review their Timeline before publishing it.

Those various states of deployment could be a chafe for app makers to support simultaneously, and could potentially confuse users.

Zuckerberg had promised in September at f8 that Facebook would soon be filled with a cornucopia of verbs -- like watch, listen, read, cook, run, throw sheep, etc -- building on the more static people, places, things and other nouns the site had supported in the past.

He said users could look forward to automatically sharing and collecting records of their culinary and athletic adventures through social cooking and social running apps, for example. Facebook also named a whole list of developers who had already agreed to create Open Graph applications, like Blockbuster, Flipboard and Mashable.

But only a chosen few -- including Spotify, Rdio, The Guardian, The Washington Post and Netflix (though the social version of Netflix is not available in the US yet) -- got to launch in September, and it appears no other partners or any other developers have since been allowed to release their "frictionless sharing" apps to the masses.

Meanwhile, more than a million Facebook users are already trying Timeline through a preview version for developers.  

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