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Facebook's getting a face-lift soon

Social-networking site has a history of big modifications not going over too well with its user base, but it nevertheless will be redesigning profiles for a speedier experience.

Facebook first announced last year that it was working on a redesign of members' profiles; now, the social-networking site has unveiled previews of its upcoming new look. The Facebook profile redesigns will start rolling out in the next few weeks.

A look at the new 'About' tab of a Facebook profile. Facebook

With the new updates, you won't be able to see a member's entire profile on one screen. Personal information about someone will be included on one "tab" of a profile, whereas the "wall"--public messages, developer-created applications, News Feed updates, and other activity-related information--will be on a separate tab. A third tab will link to the photos that the member has uploaded. Facebook has also said that members will be able to create separate tabs for their favorite applications.

Part of this is because of technical issues, Facebook has said, telling members that the changes will make the interface cleaner. "As more and more information is available on Facebook--more photo albums, more applications, and more history--we've realized that Profiles have become cluttered and slow as a result," a release from the site read. "We're trying to make profiles more simple and relevant, while still giving you control over your profile and how you express yourself."

The new 'wall' tab on Facebook's profiles. Facebook

This is a big change to the Facebook experience, and even though the site has said the updates were based on user feedback, there's no way to ensure that this won't result in mass complaints. Some Facebook members, as a theoretical example, have been loath to fill out the personal information fields and might complain that giving the "about me" section its own tab highlights them too much.

But it's hard to tell. Facebook's general membership freaked out about the News Feed, now considered a valuable and useful part of the site, and despite cacophonous Valley chatter it didn't really care about the potential intrusiveness of Beacon advertisements. So you never really can gauge how a social network's user base will react.

For interested users, Facebook has created a "fan page" for "Facebook Profiles Previews," and is encouraging sign-ups.