The mandatory Timeline update is upon us, says Facebook

intro to timelineWe’ve been on our guard, waiting for the fully launched Facebook Timeline since September. Once it became clear that Facebook planned to replace the profile with this new format (which wasn’t made explicit initially), the panic set in. Nobody likes change, especially Facebook users, and anti-Timeline sentiment was strong.

Which is why Facebook drew out the launch for nearly four months, incrementally introducing Timeline slowly but surely. And now it’s officially here and mandatory updates switching profiles over to the Timeline design will hit very soon. According to Facebook, “over the next few weeks, everyone will get a Timeline.” Once Timeline hits your account, you will have one week to comb it over—as the site puts it, “to add or hide whatever you want before anyone else sees it.”

If you’re surprised Facebook didn’t relent and keep Timeline optional, you shouldn’t be. In order for its new class of apps via the Open Graph to work, Timeline has to be activated. These new apps will access and take advantage of user data like never before and offer the companies behind them a very intimate view of consumers. Before, manufacturers and marketers were able to glean information about you because of your basic information and what you “liked” on Facebook. Now they won’t be limited to just like: they’ll know what you eat, how you work out, what you want, what you bought, where you travel, what concerts you buy tickets to, what you wear… the possibilities are infinite.

Not that the new class of apps isn’t user friendly. Music apps from the likes of Pandora, Spotify, and MOG have been incredibly well-received by users, and news reader apps have also done well. Consumers have taken to applications that leverage the content they already have—whether it’s via smartphone or Web. It’s only natural that Facebook—which for more and more people may as well be the entire Internet—would apply this to the social graph and its unstoppable growth.

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