All About the Design Genius Who Gestated Facebook’s Overhaul

A conversation with Nicholas Felton shows how Facebook’s new apps will uncover uncomfortable truths about users — and how the same data could enable entirely new kinds of targeted advertising

Christopher Mims 09/22/2011

Today Facebook announced two innovations — a visual Timeline view for parsing your entire history on Facebook, and Lifestyle apps for recording every minute detail about your daily activities — whose genesis I reported on back in May. I certainly had no idea the result of Facebook’s hire of Nicholas Felton would be a substantial overhaul of Facebook’s functionality. As I reported at the time:

Ever wondered just how much coffee you drank last year, or which movies you saw, and when? New Web and mobile apps make it possible to track, and visualize, this personal information graphically, and the trend could be set to expand dramatically.

This is because Facebook recently acquired one of the leading personal-data-tracking mobile apps and hired its creators. The social-networking giant could be gearing up to offer users ways to chart the minutiae of their lives with personalized infographics.

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