What Do You Think of Photos on the New Facebook Timeline?

The New Facebook Timeline

I had the new Facebook Timeline turned on for me yesterday. My wife got it about a week ago. Does anyone else have it? Do you like it? Anyone ever seen that movie Memento?

Photos feel larger — I like that — but I don’t really like the way that photos are cropped.

The old timeline forced everything into a square box by default so landscape/portrait crops were still problematic. You could reposition the photo after the fact (sometimes, when the reposition tool worked, which was probably less than 10% of the time for me) but your photo got stuck in a square crop. You could also “feature” the photo which would give it an extreme horizontal crop manually.

By the way, I seem to be able to use the reposition tool again now with the switch over to the new timeline.

Part of me liked the old Facebook timeline format. I love the square photo. It’s my favorite crop of all. When I uploaded a square to Facebook it would then show perfectly on my timeline page. If the other crops suffered, oh well.

The new timeline page goes back to a traditional landscape crop. So now when you upload your landscape oriented photos to Facebook they fit and look great. Unfortunately though, now both the portrait and the square crop are squashed into a landscape box.

Why on earth doesn’t Facebook just display BOTH landscape and square crops in their original crop? This is what they do on mobile btw, so it would seem more consistent. This would mean that square photos would be even bigger on the web version of Facebook, but everybody wants bigger photos anyways, so why make our square crop photos suffer in that landscape oriented box? This is what Flickr does by the way. On Flickr the square crop is king. I love that.

Of course portrait oriented photos get butchered even worse now with the new Facebook timeline — now they are squeezing a portrait photo into a landscape orientation instead of a square. Some of these just look awful.

It does feel like Facebook is trying to somehow more intelligently decide which portion of square and portrait photos get shown in the landscape box. Maybe their algorithm is looking for the eyes and focusing on that. I’m not sure, but it feels like the auto cropping is a little smarter and more intelligent.

Google+ takes a different approach. They retain the photographer’s original crop… but then you are stuck with those damn grey bars on the sides of your square and portrait photos on G+. For the life of Kevin, I’m not sure why G+ doesn’t just let the square photo have the entire envelope. It would look much better than those tiny little gray bars on the side and it’s just giving square photos an ensy weensy more real estate.

Which is what Facebook should do too, by the way. Square crops sort of fit into the landscape envelope, but why make the square suffer that way? Just liberate it. Make the square the king. I thought Facebook was doing this on the newsfeed a couple of weeks ago, but I think they switched back to cramming a square photo in a landscape box with both the new newsfeed and timeline now too.

Is there an answer to this perplexing problem about how best to display our images on the web? Why can’t we just have one big, gigantic mosaic wall on both Facebook and Google+; that’s actually my favorite format of all, I think.

Other changes on the new Facebook timeline, include moving your follower count over to a smaller, less prominent place on the left. They also give the actual number now, instead of something that just gave a rounded estimate, such as 300K, before. You can add/remove remove certain modules out of the smaller left side column if you want.

Despite the photo crop issues, overall I like the new timeline a lot. I like it better than the old version. It feels more fluid and slick. I do like that, overall, photos do appear bigger. Landscape oriented photos especially look great there now.

The new comment system drives me a little batty though. I can never figure out who is talking to who and I feel like I’m trapped in some sort of web version of the movie Memento — but that’s a whole other topic entirely. I can never understand who said what in what order to who. I feel like I’m trapped in some sort of online version of that old movie Memento.

Unfortunately, as usual, with the new Facebook timeline we’re still stuck with the damn ads. I wish Facebook’s ads weren’t so especially vulgar. Why is Facebook trying to get me to join some lawsuit about unpaid wages at Brooks Brothers? I hate lawsuits — plus I’ve never worked at Brooks Brothers. Shouldn’t Facebook be smarter than that in terms of what ads it shows me? Why does Facebook think I worked at Brooks Brothers? Next thing you know some other ambulance chaser is going to start advertising at me just in case I’ve ever had Mesothelioma. Facebook should let us pay for a Pro account and exempt us from bad advertising.

By the way, anyone ever seen that movie Memento?

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  1. madhu says:

    iam sending fb requst to u

  2. Mike Stuart says:

    Funny story – I watched Memento in College for a class. We watched the first half and were to finish it in the next session but I HAD to drive to the video store and rent it immediately to find out the rest! I now own the movie, it’s a great one!

    About the Facebook change – not loving or hating it.

  3. After so many changes at Facebook, it’s hard to care. Loathe it or love it, it’ll be gone in a few months anyway! Why get attached?

    I *do* wish they’d just show the picture in whatever format it is. I don’t understand the need to crop images people share, particularly when it’s not a matter of allocating screen real-estate, i.e. mobile.

  4. Paul Glover says:

    Personally I’d much rather have them leave the crop alone, fit the photo to the available width and let the height fall where it may. But if a crop *has* to be made, it ought to be square. Of course I may be biased to square since I do a lot of shooting with an old 6×6 TLR now!

  5. Matt Miller says:

    I preferred the old timeline, with the way you had the two columns and back when you ‘Highlighted’ something it would move and take up the two.

  6. Barry Kidd says:

    On the old Time like I liked that you could stretch a photo across the page when you highlight them now. It drew more attention to key photos/post.

    The new timeline just places a little “Twitter” looking ribbon on it. Not very noticeable and nothing that stands out in the slightest way.

    Other than that I can take it or leave it. Things change. I get use to it.

  7. Karel says:

    Thomas can you please write a post about why THE FUCK facebook compresses photos so badly? Jesus fucking christ man, people have been complaining for years about this. It completely FUCKS all my pictures with bad jpeg compression. Please Thomas, for the fucking love of god, tell Fuckerberg to stop fucking with my pictures!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Karel says:

    Also, can you please point out the obvious and post something about how the new timeline is just a fucking wall again? The whole fucking timeline with the line in the middle is fucking gone. Now what we have is just a fucking wall again. It looks better, granted, but it’s a fucking wall. The whole goddamn timeline innovation bullshit was just nonsense.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s here now..I can dig it

  10. I look at Facebook like the Chicago weather …. wait five minutes and it will change.

  11. Tyson Jerry says:

    It appears the quality of the new Facebook timeline is suffering because prime real-estate is given to peoples personal information over their photos, updates and content.

    The integration of your information such as personal info, subscriptions, likes, apps, boxes, friends has been dumped into your timeline and given priority over your actual content. I really don’t care what movies or books you like, the places you’ve been, or who your family is. Why FaceBook has decided that’s important information is beyond me…. actually no it’s not. I have a theory.

    FaceBook makes money from advertising… and they make more money if those adds are properly targeted using your personal information. Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t care if advertisements are targeted towards me. In fact, I’d rather see ads about photography and outdoor sports instead of gucci handbags. If we’re going to be advertised to, it might as well be relevant. I really don’t understand why people are up in arms about being advertised to. Targeted ads have been around long before social networks.

    But how do you get users with incomplete or out of date profiles to fill in that information? Easy, make it a huge part of peoples profiles so we feel more obligated to complete the information. Lets say 10% of users input more information. That’s a lot of data!

    Anyways, it’s a theory. All I want is big beautiful photos back in my timeline, or even better, a huge mosaic of photos, status updates, and links to make a very interesting feed. I think this is a good example where quality is suffering due to revenue.

    Oh, and I’d also the amount of subscribers I have back in a prominent position… yeah, that’d be super. Thanks.

  12. Rick says:

    A square preview is great…if your photo is cropped square. However, when FB (or anybody) crops your photo without regard to the subject, you can lose important elements that would otherwise cause somebody to want to further investigate your work.

  13. moving home says:

    Keep up the very good work.