Facebook Photos Get Another Size Boost

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The web’s most popular photo sharing site is getting another update.

In a blog post this evening, Facebook — which is by far the biggest photo site on the web — has announced that it’s launching a new photo viewer that presents images that are 960 pixels wide, as opposed to the 720 pixels they’ve been since March 2010 (they were 620 pixels before that). The viewer itself is also getting an update that replaces the current black lightbox with an opaque white, which it says puts more of the focus on the photo itself. Facebook also says that photos now load twice as fast, though it doesn’t get into how it’s serving the content so much faster.

Facebook’s last major Photos update came out in September 2010, when it introduced the black lightbox-based photo viewer and added support for photos as large as 2048 pixels in width (it doesn’t actually display these in the viewer, but you can download them at this size). That update finally made Facebook a viable way to share high-quality photos (before then, you could only download the low-res versions).

This has been a big week for Facebook. On Tuesday it announced a slew of tweaks largely related to its privacy controls and photo tagging  —you’ll soon be able to approve photos before they show up on your profile, which users have been requesting for years now. It also drastically changed the way Facebook Places work, placing less emphasis on check-ins. And earlier today confirmed that it’s killing off its Groupon-like daily deals just four months after launching them, though location-based deals are still around.