Facebook increases image quality to high resolution
Published Mar 22 2012, 21:28 GMT
By Andrew Laughlin
has today announced a major upgrade to the way images are displayed on the social network, introducing high resolution and full-screen viewing.
Improvements to Facebook's photo viewer mean that images are now automatically displayed in "the highest resolution possible", potentially at up to four times larger than before, said Facebook on Thursday
Users of the latest version of Firefox or Google Chrome web browsers can also now expand photos in the viewer to take up the entire computer screen. They must click the arrows on the top right hand corner of a photo to make it full-screen.
Facebook updated its photo viewer in February, but the social network's technical team judged that images on the site were not being presented in the best quality.
In a blog post
, Facebook engineer Ryan Mack explained that he first noticed the issue after he spent a holiday in Australia.
"Two of my passions in life are travel and photography. After working hard to build Facebook Timeline, I spent a few weeks travelling around Australia with my wife and camera," he wrote.
"Inside the Sydney Opera house I took a photo that I just couldn't wait to share with my friends. But when I uploaded it to Facebook the seat ended up looking way too red. It was a subtle change, but it bothered me enough to investigate."
Mack said that he started work on the image quality issue as part of Facebook's 'Hackamonth' activity, and it was soon found that the site could streamline the "colour profile" of photos to enable the higher resolution.
The internet standard colour profile for images is called sRGB, but the team found that this can slow websites down if applied to high definition photos.
However, Facebook's engineers were able to find and remove the components of the colour profile that were not needed to effectively display the photos, ensuring high resolution could be supported with no site slowdown.
"As someone who loves photography and plans to upload many more pictures to Facebook, I want to make sure the photos experience is as good as it can be," Mack wrote.
"I remember Zuck once saying something along the lines of, 'Even if what you're working on is the most important thing for the company, if it's not the most important thing to you then you're not being as effective as you should be'. I'm honoured to be working somewhere that holds true to that belief."> Facebook adds acquaintance tool to friends lists