Facebook is pushing its Groups feature out from the nest with its very own standalone app.
Unlike Messenger, Groups is not disappearing from the main Facebook app, yet, meaning users won’t be forced into downloading the app if they want to use Groups on their smartphones.
“This app is a complementary, optional experience, designed for people who are already power users,” says Shirley Sun, Groups project manager.
While many think spinning Groups off into its own app may be an odd choice, 700 million people use Facebook Groups every month, with the mobile experience not considered the greatest.
The Groups feature is used mainly for purpose driven communication for organising trips, sporting clubs, project collaborations and within families who want to communicate to each other away from the main News Feed.
On mobile, Groups is buried deep into the main app and the process of using it can be slow. The Groups app for iOS and Android could be a massive help to admins trying to organise their communities, and speed up the consumption experience for everyone, potentially unlocking more private sharing outside of the News Feed.
“No one is really doing this out there. We think what we offer is unique”, says Sun. Facebook will slowly begin showing a promo for the app atop the mobile Groups of the feature’s most active users and admins.
A new feature for the mobile app is the Groups Discovery section, which will help users find groups to join based on their friends, groups active nearby, or communities related to their interests.
People are sharing more and more online, but it’s not just on Facebook. Separate apps like Snapchat have enabled people to share with smaller sets of friends and certain groups of friends. If Groups proves a success, it could encourage further sharing between users, creating a third space for communication, next to the News Feed and private messaging.