Facebook Revamps Groups, Adds Connect Permission Controls


socialmedia4_small.jpgADOTAS – Remember those Facebook outages last week, where you were forced to actually do work instead of ogling photos of girls you had crushes on in high school? Well, it happened again last night — poor little social networking junkies couldn’t harvest their new crops on Farmville! So of course they went to Twitter to bitch about it — when one social network is down, you can always throw a hissy fit on another one.

But this isn’t a sign that Facebook can’t handle its half a billion users — Zuck and crew started rolling out new features, including a revamped grouping tool, during an event a few hours earlier than Google’s unveiling of GoogleTV. Apparently the launch of Facebook places was not the only reason the staff was on lockdown.

CEO Mark Zuckerburg and his geek squad appear to have given a great deal of thought to user privacy concerns in developing the new groups. Instead of an algorithm that guesses who you’d like to talk to most, Facebook has facilitated an easy way to assemble lists of people based on its photo-tagging software. Just like you can be tagged in a photo by someone else, you can be added to certain groups by friends.

When in the group, you’ll only deliver updates, photos, notes, etc., to the people there, you’ll only view other people’s postings specifically added for that group. Group chat has also been enabled, which a Facebook guy said is “really fun!” Hoo boy — I do miss those AOL chat rooms.

Privacy advocates are probably already wondering who outside of the groups will get access to the user lists? Will Facebook enable advertisers to target groups?

Also the crew introduced a way to download your entire Facebook history — every pic, status update and random post — via a zip file. Why you would want to do this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me — what am I missing?

Another nifty addition is new controls regarding Facebook Connect. Users can now edit the permissions of apps and sites they connect with via Facebook connect, including revoking all information.

Rumors circling before the event spoke of a redesign in which profile pages will be transformed to resemble Places pages. No more menu tabs at the top of a profile — all navigation tools (e.g., photos, video, etc.) will be to the left, left, left!

Also, a source told TechCrunch that Facebook chat will be also be on the left side of the screen with larger profile pictures in the chat window — just in case you forgot what the person you’re chatting with looks like. I noticed they added something similar to Gchat, which seems redundant to me — I only talk to people I see often on Gchat, usually about upcoming plans, but I guess with all the social networking these days you might forget what your friends look like in reality.


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