Facebook Revamps The Main Photos Page — Photos Get Bigger, Squarer and More Interactive

New Facebook Photos Layout
Facebook is Rolling Out a New Photos Presentation Page.

Facebook is currently in the process of rolling out a new and improved photos page for users. I’ve been part of a beta group testing out this new page over the last week and I have to say that the new photos layout is a huge step forward for photos on Facebook.

It is inevitable that the new page will be compared to Google+’s photos page and while there are similarities there as also some differences as well.

Like Google+, on your photos page, as well as on the photo page of your friends, you can hover over any thumbnail and like or comment on a photo with a single click without ever leaving the page. This allows you to like many more photos in one place at once than you could previously do. This new hover and like/fave/+1 functionality is a major lubricant for social activity on photos.

Although it may feel like Facebook copied G+ here, if my memory serves correct, it was Flickr who first introduced this hover/fave action for us in their “photos from your contacts” page. So maybe Facebook and G+ are both actually copying Flickr here more than anything. One small cosmetic difference between Facebook and Google+ here is that on G+, the +1/comment stats are light gray that light up when you hover to interact. On Facebook the stat information is gone completely unless you hover and then it appears for you to interact with.

One nice hover tool that Facebook also introduces us to here is the ability to remove yourself from a photo directly from the hover action. I’ve never quite understood why people feel the need to tag me in photos that I am not in on G+/Flickr/Facebook, but when they do I usually just delete the tag and block them. It’s nice to be able to more easily do this now with the new photos page on Facebook.

Old Facebook Photos Layout
Facebook’s Old Photos Page.

In the past, Facebook’s photos page had a very stale 4×3 small thumbnail format. You had to actually click through to your “Wall Photos” as a separate album to even get to these. The smallish thumbnails were all the exact same size. There was too much white space around the thumbnails.

With the new Facebook photos page Facebook has recropped all of your photos as square photos. While some photographers dislike the squaring of photos on the web, I actually love the square. It’s my favorite crop of all and I think it works well from a design standpoint in showing off the photos. G+’s photos page, btw, uses more of a justified mosiac page that retains a photographer’s original crop and squeezes them all together to fit on a page. I love the justified/mosaic view as well — in fact, I have a hard time deciding whether I like the square or mosaic layout format the most, I just love them both so much.

One of my favorite new features about the new Facebook photos page (that G+ doesn’t have yet) is that it gives you the ability to make some photos bigger than others. Facebook’s new square thumbnails themselves are bigger now than the old 4×3 thumbnails and with less white space on the page, but even better, you can now choose to highlight favorite photos turning them into even larger oversized timeline sized squares.

New Facebook Photos of You Layout
New Facebook Photos Layout on the “Photos of You” Section. Note the awesome Facebook tshirt I’m sporting in the highlighted photo. 😉

One area where I think that this new manual resizing and highlighting of photos is going to be huge is in the “Photos of You” section. Let’s face it. You’re so vain. I bet you think this blog post is about you, don’t you? Giving people the ability to highlight the photos of themselves that they look the best in will be irresistible to many.

Whether the new Facebook photos page is “inspired” by Google+ or Flickr or not, I think it’s great to see the continued evolution of photo presentation on the social web. In general our photos are getting larger, better looking and easier to engage with. This is wonderful.

One negative about the new Facebook photos page is that like the old photos page it still comes with ads on the right side of the page (unlike G+’s page which is advertising free). I cropped these advertisements out of my screenshots because, well, they don’t look very elegant. Obviously Facebook counts on this advertising revenue to keep the lights on and I can’t begrudge them for running advertisements next to my photos as their service is free, but it still detracts from the aesthetic experience in my opinion. I’m not sure what the answer here is. Would I pay $25/year for an ad-free version of Facebook like I do with Flickr? I think I would.

More on the new Facebook photos page from The Verge.

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  1. Ditto, I would gladly pay a reasonable amount for an ad-free Facebook. I know you can install adblock, etc., but I hate having a thousand browser add-ons.

    On the watch for the new photo page!

  2. Mike Dooley says:

    Looking forward to seeing this in action. And I agree, I would probably pay a reasonable fee for no ads, and assuming that I get a little more reliability out of it.

  3. Craig W. says:

    Sometimes the rule of thirds doesn’t translate well to 1:1 ratios. Are you able to reposition or re-crop the default square applied by Facebook? I love this ability offered by 500px.

  4. Thomas Hawk says:

    Craig, you can reposition photos on your timeline view, but I don’t think you can yet on the new photos page yet. Hopefully that’s coming. 🙂

  5. What’s really the point of all this when they only let 17-25% of your fans to see the things you post on your Facebook page?


    P.S.: AdBlock Plus works wonder.

  6. Oliver says:

    That’s nice. I’m looking forward.

  7. oh great view to the next step on facebook thanks for the preview…….<

  8. Matt says:

    Competition is a good thing. Thank you G+!!

  9. Carl says:

    Honestly, AdBlock is one plugin, not thousands .. Besides, it works really well!

  10. Niki Aguirre says:

    I cannot wait for this! It look so nice and inviting!

  11. Lance says:

    Looks like a total design ripoff of the front page of fotoblur.com

  12. Alex Cruceru says:

    It is a copy / paste out of http://www.fotoblur.com , and our community find this sad.This is how facebook show it’s originality , by copying Lance’s work and idea? So sad!

  13. Melissa says:

    Is anyone else having issues making the “highlight photo” feature work on Pages? I can use that feature on my personal page, but when I try to implement it on my business page, the photos simply revert back to standard size the next time I view the album.