One new feature, Timeline, allows users to aggregate information from their past and curate it into year-by-year allotments made accessible on their profile, Zuckerberg asked viewers to “imagine expressing the story of your life … and all the important and meaningful things in your life highlighted right there.”
Another feature, Ticker, seeks to replicate the success of Twitter by acting as a news feed, broadcasting any user's activity on the site in real time.
In preparation for Thursday’s announcement, the company spent more than a year rounding up partnerships with more than a dozen media outlets, including music-streaming services Rhapsody and Spotify; news outlets such as The Washington Post, Yahoo! News, and The Economist; the movie rental service Netflix; and at least one motion picture studio, Warner Bros.
On Thursday, Zuckerberg showed how the new user pages will make it easier for these partners to create apps that create “frictionless experiences” for users accessing their content. For example, a user can watch "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" on Facebook. At the same time, the Ticker will let all the user's friends know – and allow them join, so all can watch the movie at the same time.
In short, Facebook is seeking an advantage over its competition by providing users an all-in-one platform to stream and share content. For its partners, working with Facebook provides an impressive and new distribution network in the era of declining music sales and readership.
The new features can be perceived as reacting to recent threats from Google+, the software giant’s new social-network platform, and the surging popularity of Twitter. Both social networks target weaknesses of Facebook. Beyond Ticker's similarities to Twitter, the curated features of Timeline are similar to the organizational components of Google+.