Facebook Groups and new privacy dashboard will change how you game

Mark Zuckerberg
At a press conference held at Facebook headquarters--in a cafeteria, oddly enough--in Palo Alto, Calif., company CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a few of his team managers presented some groundbreaking changes to the platform: redesigned Facebook Groups and application privacy settings. While no mention was made at the event of how these changes would affect us gamers, the big Z just made it a lot easier for us to both collaborate and keep safe while we play.

See the changes and what they might mean to you after the break.

Groups Beat Clans

Facebook GroupsMost likely the biggest change to the platform since Places for smartphones, Facebook Groups allows users to create groups for any occasion (it's all in the name) that are private by default. What's more interesting is that these groups look a lot like your standard Facebook wall with most of the normal features included like photos, news feeds and most importantly, chat. For the first time, people can chat with multiple users at once, but only when in a Group.

When it comes to games, Groups is going to make collaboration that much easier. No more chatting within different programs or creating silly pages for your new FarmVille Crafting Co-Ops or Cafe World Catering Orders. This can all happen within a group tailored specifically to that game or even that task. Want to make sure your catering crew is cooking the right stuff for the 1 Year Anniversary Party? Just make a Group in a separate Facebook browser tab and chat live with your friends about who's baking what. Finishing timed missions in Mafia Wars like the new Social Missions will be a cinch now that you can collaborate live within a Facebook Group. And to think that players used forums before.

Stop Sending Me E-mails!
Ever signed up for e-mail updates from a Facebook game to get that sweet bonus only to find to your inbox filled to the brim within days from notifications of how many friends want to chop your trees down? You can now change how each of your applications, including games, accesses your account with the revamped "Applications and Websites" page in your account privacy settings. Say you want to know the last time a game accessed your information and decide that you don't it to post to your wall at all. This is where you can find that detailed information and shut out the game from doing so.

Facebook Applications
Now that Facebook gamers can tweak how games access their information, perhaps more players will be open to sharing their progress than before. I can't imagine how many gamers hit the "Skip" button constantly while they play to avoid sharing their information.

All things considered, these changes could shrink social gaming communities down to small groups of friends and family from the legions of social gaming communities who in most cases know nothing about one another. What will make or break this change for me is whether developers give players the option to publish their accomplishments and requests to Groups rather than News Feeds. Whether that cheapens or strengthens the primary function of social games is up for debate, but if I'm going to create a group with my close friends for a specific game, I want to be in the know. Regardless of what side you take, taking on the more daunting, hardcore tasks with your friends just got a helluva lot easier.

[Image Credit: TechCrunch]

What do you think of the changes to Facebook Groups? Will you be using them now to take on bigger missions in your favorite Facebook games? Let us know in the comments. Add Comment.
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