Everything You Need to Know About the New Facebook Features

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team of developers have just announced several more new features for the massive social networking site, but maybe you’re like us and had a problem deciphering anything from the constant blurping during Facebook’s live streaming presentation. Either way, it’s always good to go back and do a bit of a recap, and that’s why we’re here. Because whether you’re on a PC or a Mac, there’s probably someone in the room with trolling through Facebook profiles right this second.

So, what’s this about a new Groups redesign?

Now, you can separate your friends into finely organized categories, or “Groups”, as Facebook likes to call them. While this may hurt the feelings of junior high girls everywhere, it’s great for those who use Facebook as a means of interacting with their friends, their colleagues, their business associates, their gym buddies and their family, but want to be more selection about the kind of information they share with each group.

While Facebook Groups did exist before today’s big announcement, this is still a major update for the previously under-utilized feature. The new Groups will have selective information sharing just like many of Facebook’s other features, so, for example, your business associates don’t have to have access to your Mobile number. Facebook Groups will also come with the following features:

Group chat: You can now chat with multiple members of a group in Facebook chat, as well as selectively show certain groups if you’re online.

Shared notepad: For kids and business folks that often collaborate on assignments, Facebook has revived Google’s idea for the “wave” and created their own version of the shared notepad. Users can now collectively write and edit notes within a group.

Mailing list-style notifications: You know how Facebook sends you email after email of updates that someone has replied to a thread you left a comment on three weeks ago? Now, you can do this for the groups you’re in. Facebook has added a new way for users to subscribe to certain posts so that they’ll receive emails and notifications when someone else replies.

Unfortunately, you cannot currently convert one of your existing groups into this new design, which we find to be very odd. If you don’t see any new changes to your Facebook page just yet, that’s because Facebook is slowly rolling out these changes and it’ll hit, one-by-one, just like the new Twitter UI update…that yours truly still hasn’t seen the light of day yet.

What else does Facebook have in store for me?

As aforementioned, we’ve seen none of this yet, and Facebook’s employees will be working in overdrive to get this content out to you–the social networking addict–as soon as possible. A couple of other features that they have in store for us include:

The ability to completely download all of your profile information: Basically, expect a whole new open, portable Facebook that you can print out and stuff in your purse or laptop bag. That’s right–a new “Download Your Information” feature will enable users to hit a download button and extract everything off of their profile, including messages, wall posts and photos, all into one nifty, compressed .zip file.

A new way to check on connected apps: If you use Facebook applications for things like Flickr, Yelp, and Digg, you can now check and see how many sites and applications have access to your personal data through Facebook and Facebook Connect. It’s a wonderful way for users to impulsively connect with their favorite websites, but still have an idea about what these sites are actually doing with their information.

An entirely new site redesign–again: Yeah, it’s happening–again–and we’re all just going to have to deal with it one way, or another. We know that chat is going to the the left side of the screen, and that the entire site is going to look a little more like its Places page.

You might be freaking out at all of this change, but trust us, this is a good thing for you diehard Facebook users. The gigantic social networking platform is growing by the minute, and the new changes means that it’s morphing itself to fit with its user’s needs. Now all we have to do is wait for the update to finally hit and ignore the Negative Nancy Facebook status updates that will undoubtedly follow.


Follow this artlcle’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


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