Facebook for iPhone 3.3.1 Includes Groups, Deals, Photo Check-Ins

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By Josh Constine Comment

Version 3.3.1 of Facebook for iPhone brings Groups, Deals, and enhanced Places functionality to the most popular Facebook mobile app. Released today, the app allows users to post to Groups and read Group feeds, add photos and tag additional friends to an existing check-in, and discover rewards Deals offered at local Places.

Facebook last made a major update to its iPhone app when it launched Places, and fixed a few bugs with a release in September. When Groups was launched last month, the only mobile way to access the feature was through m.facebook.com, which has now changed. Details about the new Deals feature leaked a few days ago, but today Facebook walked members of the press through how it businesses can use it to incentivize check-ins.

Groups

Users will immediately see evidence of the update upon launching Facebook for iPhone Version 3.3.1. The Requests icon has been removed from the home screen, with friend requests now appearing in a tab within the Friends icon. Requests is replaced with a Groups icon. When tapped, users will see a list of all the Groups they’re a member of, with counts denoting unseen posts next to each Group’s name. Users can tap through to a Group to read its feed, post updates or upload photos, or see a list of Group members. There is no access to Group admin controls, Group Chat, or Docs.

Enhanced Check-In Capabilities

The Places icon on the home screen now shows red notification counts denoting nearby check-ins by friends. Upon tapping through, users will see a check-ins feed with unseen nearby check-ins highlighted in yellow. Once a user has checked in to a Place, they can return to that Places page to tag additional friends who arrive after the check-in was made, or upload photos with captions to show what they’re doing at the Place. A user can no longer add photos or additional tags from the app once they’ve checked in elsewhere. Friends a user frequently checks in with will appear in a starred category at the top of their friend list for quick tagging.

Deals and the New Composer Design

When users visit their news feed, they’ll notice a new design of the composer for publishing content. Instead of a camera icon, “What’s on your mind?” status publisher, and Places icon, they’ll see three uniform buttons for “Photo”, “Status”, and “Check In”.

Upon tapping the Check In button within the news feed or Places, users see a list of nearby Places. These Places will now show yellow coupon icon if they are running a Deal (our coverage here). Users can tap through to the Places page where they can see details about how to claim the Deal, for instance by checking in, or checking in and tagging three friends. Once a user completes the Deal’s instructions, they’ll be shown a confirmation screen which includes the reward, an expiration date, and how many people have also claimed the Deal. This can be shown to an employee of the Place to redeem the reward.

Upon checking in to a Place with an active Deal, or claiming a Deal, the Places check-in story published to that user’s stream will include information about the Deal, according to Facebook’s Director of Local Emily White. Doing so could entice the user’s friends to visit.

Conclusion

The new version of Facebook for iPhone is fast, easy-to-use, and offers both unique mobile functionality and new replications of web interface features. Instead of answering user demands for minor features like maintaining the ability to add photos to albums, or allowing users to remove friends, Facebook is giving users new ways to take advantage of the iPhone’s GPS and camera. While Facebook for Android also received an update today, Facebook apps for Palm, Blackberry, Windows, and others which still don’t have Places functionality will now look even more antiquated.

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