Facebook's new photo viewer an homage to Google+

The world's largest social network now shows images on the left side of the screen and comments and basic information to the right of the picture.

Facebook's new photo viewer.
Facebook's new photo viewer. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Facebook has launched a new photo viewer that will feel awfully familiar to Google+ users.

Users who open images in Facebook will find that the world's largest social network has changed how those photos are displayed. Facebook now puts an image on the left side of the screen, and on the right, includes the photo's owner and when it was uploaded, comments made by friends, and sponsored stories. In a pop-up on the bottom of the image, Facebook lets users "like" or tag the photo.

Facebook started rolling out the update yesterday, and told CNET sister site ZDNet in a statement that it's currently available to "all users."

Google+ offers a similar feature: When opening photos in Google+, users will find a sidebar to the right of an image allowing them to comment or tag people. The layout isn't identical to Facebook's, but they are strikingly similar. Facebook did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the similarity between the services.

Over the last several months, Facebook has been tweaking its Photos feature to make it easier for users to view images. In August, it rolled out higher-resolution images, allowing photos to span 960 pixels, rather than the previous 720 pixels. The company also doubled load-time speeds to help users access images far more quickly.

Does Facebook's new photo viewer look familiar to this Google+ layout?
Does Facebook's new photo viewer look familiar to this Google+ layout? Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET
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