Facebook’s new Groups app helps you separate your friends

Got a message for some friends and not others? There’s an app for that

facebook app
IDG News Service/Zach Miners

Need to get in touch with old college friends or some of your work buddies when you're on the run?

Facebook wants to help you with that.

The social network announced today that it's launching a Facebook Groups app designed to help people share more easily with all their groups, ranging from the friends you take a yoga class with to your bowling team, church group or work colleagues.

Facebook Groups Facebook

Facebook Groups is available for iOS and Android devices.

"People use Facebook Groups every day to stay in touch with family, collaborate on projects, plan trips and offer support to friends," wrote Shirley Sun, a Facebook product manager, in a blog post. "We built this app with the people who use Groups the most in mind.... You can still use Facebook Groups in the main Facebook app and on desktop, and over time we'll continue to make those experiences faster and better, too."

The app, built out of Facebook Creative Labs, is available today on both iOS and the Android platform.

Sun explained that when a user opens the app, all of his or her Facebook Groups will be in one list. The user's most popular groups will be found at the top.

The app also is designed to suggest new groups based on the groups the user's friends are in, location and the pages the user has liked.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said the new app makes a lot of sense for Facebook, as well as for its users.

"I think a lot of our communications are more relevant when they address specific groups within our lives," he said. "My college friends are interested in different things from the people I worked with. Facebook always treated groups as kind of a large organization thing, but that's not where the interesting action is."

Giving users, specifically the company's growing mobile user base, the ability to communicate with differentiated groups of people is a page right out of social rival Google+'s handbook.

According to Gottheil, it shows Facebook's growing up.

"Facebook is built out from the high school and college experience, where your social groups are kind of lumped together," he added. "But as you get older, you have groups of people you knew at a certain time in a certain place. There are things you want to share with some of these groups, and not with others."

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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