Sweeping changes at Facebook – new ‘Send’ button arrives

26 Apr 2011

Facebook appears to be making some significant changes to the features available to users over the coming days. A new ‘Send’ button will allow users to share content with specified friends while in the US changes to Deals will see users receive offers in their news feed.

The all-pervasive ‘Like’ button, which last week celebrated its first anniversary, will soon be joined by a ‘Send’ button.

Webpages that integrate the ‘Send’ button will give users the option to send the content to specific Facebook Groups, friends or an email address.

“A year ago, we launched the Like button, which gives you a quick way to share the things you find on the web with all your friends,” explained Elliot Lynde, a Facebook engineer. “But there are times when you find something that you only want to share with a few specific people.

“Say you’re on Orbitz and want to tell your roommates about a great idea for a summer vacation, or you come across a Huffington Post article that you only want to share with people at work. With the new Send button, now you can share things with any of your Groups or individual friends on Facebook.”

Starting today, Lynde said the Send button will be available on more than 50 leading websites before spreading elsewhere. The plugin is already live on The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, and is available to all sites now.

More private groups

Facebook is also planning to add photo albums to its Groups feature, enabling members of Groups to share entire albums with the Group rather than one photo at a time.

The social networking giant is also adding more administrative power to Groups so that users can pose Facebook Questions within a specific group and also administrators can approve new members of Groups rather than members inviting any of their friends. In other words, some groups are now going to be more private than others.

“In the six months since our launch, people have created over 50m Groups on Facebook,” explained Lynde. “It’s grown quickly because of its social design. Instead of making everyone build and manage individual friend lists, one person can create a group for their families and everyone in the family gets to use it.

Facebook pushes Deals into news feeds

Another change on the way is a new Facebook Deals feature that doesn’t require check-ins and which seems designed to compete less with Foursquare and more with Groupon.

The new feed-oriented Deals service will launch initially in US cities: Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco.

Under the new service, users no longer have to just check in to see Deals near where they are, but can opt to have Deals that will appear in their news stream related to where they live.

Each deal will have its own landing page that users can ‘Like’, ‘Share’ or ‘Send’ and users will most likely pay for the Deal’s good or service using Facebook Credits, the alternative currency Facebook is determined to grow.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years