I’ve had a wee play around with Facebook’s new Groups functionality now, and after being initially sceptical, I have to concede it’s a good addition.
The friend list functionality was OK but I found it awkward. It didn’t integrate with your natural flow of information, you didn’t know if you were on a list or not and you couldn’t join one someone else had made. In short, it was just a clumsy filter that no-one was using which served only as a barrier to open and social communication.
The new groups solves that. now I have subject groups which I can use to chat on but it all flows into my stream. I don’t have to jump around to different group pages, or worry about who’s on what list. it just works. It even has some useful collaboration tools now. You can share documents (rudimentary but still a potshot at Google docs) and details of events. It’s like Google Wave Lite, in a good way.
And there’s more
Facebook actually launched 3 new add-ons on Wednesday and, for once, they are all pretty good. In addition to the fanfare that is Groups, you can now download all your data to your own local computer and also manage the access that your applications have to your personal details.
I wonder if anyone working on the newly opened out Diaspora is paying attention. It seems like a nice easy way to load up people’s accounts initially if they create some tools for importing their Facebook data.