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Facebook for iPhone gets event check-ins, unfriending

Thanks to an update, you can finally divorce your Facebook friends, as well as check in to birthday parties and other events, all from the iPhone app.

Facebook for iPhone gets unfriending
Press the arrow on a contact's profile page to unfriend. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I always love seeing new functionality for Facebook for iPhone, and the team has trotted out not just tweaks, but some improvements that make a real difference.

For instance, you can now unfriend former buddies directly from the phone, instead of having to cut them off from your profile page on the site (not that I would ever do such a thing, of course.)

Just go to a contact's profile page and press the arrow in the top-right corner, the same you would tap to add a friend as a favorite or launch a Facebook message.

The map view for Facebook Places is also a useful embellishment. Just click a friend's name in the Activity view of your Places list and you'll see a thumbnail that plots the location of his or her latest check-in on a Google Map. Tap the map to expand it to full-screen size.

Maps appear in Places in Facebook for iPhone
Places listed in Facebook for iPhone now get Google maps. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Event check-ins are the third substantial feature in this Facebook update. If you're invited to a friend's birthday party, for instance, you'll now be able to check in when you arrive.

This is a logical extension of Facebook check-ins and one that will encourage more people to actually use the service. A pre-existing feature continues to let you check in to individual businesses via Facebook Places, which is much more difficult if you're attending, say, a friend's birthday party in a vacant warehouse.

Facebook has also modified the Notifications interface and the newsfeed in this latest release.

The iPhone version of Facebook has long led the way in introducing new features in a clean design. In my opinion, it's also been the most intuitive to use. So long as the team continues to roll out useful features that bring the app closer to the Web site's capabilities, I'll continue to be a happy Facebook camper.