Facebook news roundup: Groups, downloadable accounts, and more

zuckerberg groupsFacebook unveiled a number of new features this morning in Palo Alto. They weren’t connected in any obvious way, though chief executive Mark Zuckerberg gave them the collective description “Giving users more control“.

On their own, none of the announcements sounds like a huge change, but together they made for a big news day. If you weren’t following the coverage, here’s a quick roundup of what the company announced:

  • A revamped version of Facebook Groups — This is probably the biggest product news. Users can now create groups of friends, family members, or co-workers, where they can privately post photos, collaborate on wiki-style documents, start group chats, and more. Zuckerberg said the “social design” philosophy behind Groups will help it spread and also differentiates Facebook from its competitors.
  • Facebook has been in “lockdown” — Confirming VentureBeat’s story from two months ago, Zuckerberg said the company has been in a period of intense work and product development that he calls a lockdown. He hinted there are still more announcements to come. TechCrunch reports that one of those announcements will be a big redesign.
  • Facebook users can now download their profiles — Why would they want to do that? Facebook tried to explain it to me, but to a certain extent it sounds like a symbolic move to give users “control” of their data. Not that that’s a bad thing.
  • Facebook users now have a privacy dashboard — I didn’t even get a chance to do a full post on this, but it does sound like another step in the right direction towards simplifying Facebook’s convoluted privacy settings. On the dashboard, users should be able to see all of their Facebook applications, when those applications last accessed their data, and what data was used.

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