Facebook now lets you download your data and Group your friends -- again

Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new option to take all your information, messages and photos from Facebook, as well as a re-vamped Groups feature.

Facebooker-in-chief Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new option to take all your data from the social network . Facebook has also re-vamped Groups, a feature that lets you arrange and communicate with your friends according to the context of your relationship. Hang on -- can't we already do that?

The feature lets you post, update and chat with just family, school or college mates, or members of your Lord of The Rings battle re-enactment group, without broadcasting to your entire list of friends.

Once you've created a group, you can edit a wiki, collaborate on documents and chat with all online members at the same time in one IM window. The group has an email address so you can send everyone a message without having to log into Facebook.

Groups can be visible to everyone, be visible but their content only available to members, or totally secret.

Hang about -- we've already had Groups. And Pages. And Networks. And Friends Lists. What's going on? The new Groups has more options and privacy settings than previous attempts to group friends, and integrates better with other features on the site. It also allows you to add people to Groups rather than having to join themselves -- similar to how you tag photos, with people opting out if they're not interested. We'll see if Facebook has finally cracked social grouping as the feature rolls out to its 500 million users from today.

Zuckerberg also announced the option to download your profile as a zip file. If you decide to leave the site, you can take your information with you. The download includes your friends list and all your photos, messages, wall posts and events. It's a one-click process in the accounts settings section, but you do need to delete your account separately if you're absolutely, positively, 100 per cent certain you want to leave.

Neither of these features seem like a huge deal compared to previous announcements like Places or the universal 'like' button , and certainly don't merit being announced by head Facebooker Zuckerberg himself. We can't help wondering if this is a charm offensive to counter the apparently negative portrait of El Zuck painted by forthcoming film The Social Network .

Click play below to see Facebook's video explaining Groups.

For more Facebook shenanigans, including a Photoshop competition that needs to be seen to be believed, take a look at our official page at facebook.com/cnetukofficial. Incidentally, if you're wondering why your female friends are telling you, "I like it on the...", it's a reference to October Breast Cancer Awareness month, and they're talking about their handbags.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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