Fresh off the news that Twitter is rolling out its Lists feature to more users, Facebook Oct. 19 revamped its Facebook Groups section for letting people organize around a common interest.
To this point, activities in the 45 million Facebook Groups have been relegated to the group page, making it hard to distinguish what was current from what was old news.
Borrowing from the social network's home page setup, Facebook added a Wall to Groups that summarizes all the recent activities of people within the group and a Publisher that lets users share their content.
Also, group activities will now be delivered to users' News Feed instead of just the group. Users will only see stories when friends post within a group rather than when all members post.
"For example, you now will see a story when your friend uploads photos from a recent party at your high school alumni group or when one of your friends posts a message on the Wall of your pick-up soccer group saying that there is a special game this week," explained Facebook engineering intern Knot Pipatsrisawat, who made the changes to Groups.
Groups users can also use filters on the left-hand rail to elect to see only group-related stories on their home page. Not everyone will see this new Groups design just yet, as the company is testing it with a small percentage of people on the site before rolling it out to everyone soon.
Facebook is also in the midst of a big redesign for its home page. Mashable unearthed the new look and feel of Facebook here. It's legitimate; check out the documentation, which includes this description:
""Facebook is simplifying the user experience on the home page by introducing Top News and Recent Activity streams. Now, when users log on to Facebook for the first time in a while, they will see the most important stories that they missed while they were away. From there, users can navigate to the real-time stream and toggle between both views throughout their sessions. In addition to making it easier for users to view content that is most relevant to them, this change also speeds up the time it takes for the home page to load and makes birthday reminders more prominent.""
Facebook, always looking for ways to attract new advertisers to put in front of its 300 million-plus users, said these changes will increase engagement on the home page by surfacing more relevant stories. Facebook hasn't said when this new home page will go live.
More exciting is the punching match Facebook and Twitter are engaged in, borrowing similar features from each other to flesh out their social networks, which though young, are becoming richer week by week. Facebook is the largest social network in the world, so it makes sense that it would also strive to have the richest functionality. More users equals more needs.
Twitter, with the addition of Lists, new languages and geolocation services, is trying to keep up the innovation pace, though some would argue that its real-time nature and corresponding search capabilities give it an advantage over Facebook.
But at less than 60 million users, Twitter is far from catching Facebook.