Facebook announced new changes for its Groups function today as well as the new “Send” button. The media ate it up and wrote their obligatory Facebook stories quoting this as a “major” makeover (USA Today). Don’t get me wrong I’m glad to see improvements but some of these changes either already existed or were old functions that Facebook got rid of only to bring them back.
Take Groups for example. While adding the questions function to the Group is new, giving admin control over who can enter a group is actually an old function that they didn’t carry over to the “new” Groups layout. I’m happy to see them bring it back as it offers more privacy and more control over the Group.
Other new changes include allowing Group members to create a photo album (again new for Groups but has existed for Pages forever), and sharing a link from a third party site via the Send button, more on that. You could always post a link to the group wall and the members would get it, but this step makes it a bit easier.
The Send button is another new feature Facebook has added to take some share from email. While the Send function does allow you to send a link to one friend versus posting the link to your wall, this function was always available via the general share button. It was in small font, but you always had the option to “send as a message” versus “post to your wall.” I would think there would be slight hesitation from some news organizations, brands, etc, to facilitate a one-on-one message and give up the exposure of a wall post, which is what the other share function promoted more heavily. Regardless the Wall Street Journal now allows you to Send as well as Like and Email and Tweet and don’t forget Print.
It’s good to see Facebook tweaking and improving their services, but a major makeover…naw. If anything the more interesting headline would be – Facebook takes one more step toward making email extinct.