Facebook held an event today to announce new features to the site. At least one of them has been a long time coming, and requested by many, while the other new features are clearly designed to keep you even more involved with the king of social networks as much as possible.
At long last, Facebook has done what people have been asking for for ages, and that is to allow you to download all the data you’ve added to the site. No, this won’t remove the data from their servers, but at least you will finally feel like you own your own data. You will be able to request a download of everything you’ve added to the site, including pictures and videos, and then download all of it one handy ZIP file.
While this could of course be a security nightmare, Facebook is trying to make sure it is indeed you that is downloading the data. An e-mail will be sent to your registered address with a link to the download. You will then be asked to sign in, and it will check for information such as if this is a computer you have accessed your account from before. On some occasions you will also be presented with a captcha to make sure you are a human, and not a bot. Once all of those factors are satisfied, you will be able to download all of your images, videos and other assorted data.
The second big announcement of the day was a major overhaul to groups and friends lists. Apparently people have not flocked to making friends lists with only five percent of the site’s users using the feature. As Mark Zuckerberg aptly pointed out, however, five percent of 500 million is still 25 million, so the feature isn’t going away, and it will still function, they will just be putting more of their effort into a new version of Groups.
As you can see in the video above, Groups is now abut communicating with small groups of people, and it will allow you to share information out with just that tiny subset of your overall friends list. This way if there is something that will interest just them, you won’t feel as if you’re annoying all of your friends. One could also almost view it as starting their own mini-social network inside of Facebook because you can make it as exclusive or inclusive as you choose. Once the group is set up you can share information with one another, share documents, post private images & videos and close the community off as much as you see fit.
While some people fear that anyone could be brought into a group, Facebook addressed this by saying that anyone invited into a group will have the person who invited them in shown next to them so you know who in the group is the guilty party. So, if you really didn’t want Frank on your Fantasy Football page, you’ll know it was Evan who brought him in and you can make sure he picks last next year in the draft.
There will also be a way to interact with the group when you aren’t on the site itself, and that will be through a group e-mail address that will send all members an e-mail, breaking down the walls ever slightly more between the social network and the rest of the Internet.
All in all it looks like some positive new moves for Facebook – especially the ability to download your own data – but it definitely looks like Zuckerberg and crew want to give you even more reasons to be totally entrenched with their system.
What say you? Are you happy with the new changes?