Facebook updated its Facebook Groups feature with a Send button that lets users share content with a few people instead of an entire group, adding missing granularity to the Web service.
Facebook launched Groups last October to help the social network's users partition groups of connections into friends, family and professional groups, among other segments. The default setting for these groups of people is closed, which means only members see what's going on in a group.
Since the launch, Facebook users have created more than 50 million Groups on Facebook, making the product a success.
"It's grown quickly because of its social design," said Elliot Lynde, an engineer on the Groups team. "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."
To improve the service, Facebook seeded a Send button with some popular Websites to let users share links, photos and other content with certain people. It's like the Like button, only it can be limited to people in a Group or just some of those people instead of all of a person's followers.
The Send button is available on more than 50 Websites, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Orbitz and Gilt Groupe, among others.
The button appears next to the Like button on participating Websites. Users click it and can type the names of Facebook friends, Facebook groups, or email addresses to whom they want to send the content.
Facebook also integrated its Questions service to let group members ask questions of and poll members within a group; the ability to upload entire photo albums instead of just single pictures; and new membership controls.
The controls will allow only Group hosts to pre-approve all potential new members before they're added to the group. Previously, Facebook fashioned the service so that any group member could add additional members.
The new features should help facilitate growth of the already popular Groups even faster, particularly if the Send button follows the Like button's trajectory; it's been deployed across 2.5 million Websites.
Moreover, Facebook tends to endear itself to users by making controls more granular, which is what the new membership controls enable.