Unlike the existing version of Facebook's photo uploader, the new uploader requires the installation of a browser plug-in. This inconvenience is rewarded with the option to leave Facebook entirely, while the photos continue to upload in the background. Previously, users would have had to leave that window or page running while the uploader did its magic.
Facebook also said the new uploader supports a few extra photo formats, though it did not specify which ones. The company has, for some time now, had unofficial support for a handful of alternate formats, including raw images. However, on its official spec sheet the company says only .jpg, .gif, .bmp, and .png files will work.
Facebook currently gets 2.5 billion photo uploads per month. To put that in perspective, the company hit the 10 billion mark in October of 2008, a whole three years after first introducing the photo-sharing feature in 2005. In other words, any small change that makes it easier for people to get their photos onto the social network could end up having a big effect on how fast Facebook's photo collection will continue to grow.
If you can't wait for Facebook to activate the uploader on your account, you can do it yourself. Just head over to Facebook's prototype page, and turn it on.