The changes, which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described in a "60 Minutes" interview that aired last night, include an entire interface overhaul, redesigned profile sections and a handful of new fields.
All users will be converted to the newly redesigned profile pages by early January, Facebook says. To switch to the new profile pages immediately, go here. Note that if you choose to make the switch, you will not be able to revert to the old design.
Also note that this redesign does not affect your current privacy settings.
Here's a look at the new profile page and how to navigate the added features.
A Look at Your New Facebook Profile Page
One of the most significant changes to Facebook's profile page is a quick summary of your information that now lives at the top of your page. These details include your current position at a company, where you live, your relationship status, what you studied and where you attended school, your birthday and languages you speak, which is new with the redesign. Click on that field to update your fluency in other languages.
The five most-recently tagged photos of you are displayed below your summary. To remove any of these from your profile page view, hover above it and click the X. That photo will be replaced by another. If you have restricted access to your photos, they will not appear on your profile.
[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]
Gone from the profile page is the navigation tabs for your wall, info and photos. You can now find these on the left below your profile picture. Also moved is the status update box. Instead, you can post your status, a photo, link or video by clicking on the icons below the five most-recent pictures you have been tagged in.
Your Facebook Relationships: What's New
Find this section by choosing Edit My Profile from your News Feed view or by choosing Edit Profile from the new summary section at the top of your profile.
In addition to listing your relationship status, anniversary and family members, you can also now add additional relationships. You can create a new list of your closest friends, for example, or you can upload a list for a group you've already created, such friends you've assigned to your Limited Profile list.
These lists appear on your Facebook profile along the left side, but are visible only to you. The only list that is public is your Friends list (and only if your privacy settings allow others to view your friends).
Clicking on a list's name will preview all the members in that group. You can also search these lists by name, current city, hometown, school, workplace or interest to find a particular friend.
Your Facebook Info Page: What's New
While the general set-up of your Info page is similar to the old design, there are a few changes, including icons associated with your employers and colleges and high schools. The order and names, in some cases, of the information fields have also changed.
Two fields that remain the same are Arts and Entertainment and Contact Information. Here's what you need to know about the rest.
Education and Work: This field, which is now displayed at the top of the Info page, has a few new fields you can fill out if you click Edit. For example, you can add projects to your work information and include in it a description of what you did, when you worked on it and with whom you worked. Also, under College/University and High School, you can add classes you took and descriptions of the class.
These additional fields, especially the inclusion of project descriptions, is an interesting addition that can add a more professional feel to your profile.
Philosophy: Under this new grouping is your: Religion, with a section for a description to add more; political views, also for a section where you can elaborate; and your favorite quotations. New to this section is "people who inspire you."
Activities and Interests: Under Activities you can add with whom you do this activity as well as a description of the activity. The Interests section remains the same.
Your Facebook Photos Page: What's New
The best update to this part of your profile is continuous scrolling, similar to what the new Twitter implemented in its latest redesign. Instead of clicking through several pages to view all the photos you've been tagged in over the years, simply scroll down and the photos will populate automatically.
I would have loved to see continuous scrolling added to walls. Next time, Facebook.
Your Facebook Friends: What's New
Clicking on the Friends icon under your profile picture will send you to a page populated with your friends' names, profile picture and network. This view does not feature continuous scrolling nor does it list your friends alphabetically. To view your friends' list alphabetically, switch to the "list" view icon at the top.
Here, you can search specifically for a friend (which differs from Facebook's traditional search bar at the top, which searches allpeople on Facebook, in addition to Facebook groups and brands).
Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.