Facebook is trying to evolve from an Internet hangout where people swing by to share tidbits, links and photos to a homestead decorated with the memories, dreams and diversions of its 800 million users.
In what may be the boldest step yet in the company's seven-year history, Facebook is redesigning its users' profile pages to create what CEO Mark Zuckerberg says is a "new way to express who you are."
It is betting that despite early grumblings, its vast audience will become even more attached to a website that keeps pushing the envelope. To that effect, it is introducing new ways for people to connect with friends, brands and games while also sharing details about their lives from the mundane to the intimate.
"If you look at Facebook's history, obviously they are not afraid of making change," said Sean Corcoran, an analyst with Forrester Research. "They have done a lot of big changes in the past and people have gotten upset. But most of the time Facebook has been right."
Zuckerberg introduced the Facebook "timeline" along with new entertainment and media company partnerships on Thursday in San Francisco, at the annual "f8" conference attended by about 2,000 entrepreneurs, developers and journalists. The event was also being broadcast to, at one point, more than 100,000 online viewers.