One of the nice things about Facebook when it first launched was that it gave you a quick, casual way to communicate with large groups of people--everyone attending your weekend zombie costume party for example, could be informed of the last minute switch to a pirate theme--without the messiness of endless multi-responder email threads.
Facebook recently made some deft changes to two key group talk tools, Facebook Events and Facebook Groups. On Groups, Facebook has introduced a feature  that snitches to Group admins about which members have and haven’t seen new posts on the Group message boards, and when they've seen it. (Update: Members of a group and users who've been included in the visibility settings can also see time stamps and read receipts.) The introduction of these read receipts is in some ways a departure for Facebook, which is traditionally guarded about revealing users’ browsing habits within Facebook to other users. But then, others argue , the feature isn't so different from read receipts Facebook already has for personal messages.
The changes to Facebook's Events feature incorporate ideas born at one of its hackathons . “A couple of us felt there should be a better way for people to see their friends' birthdays a few days in advance and make plans for the weekend. So we built it,” Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin wrote in an introductory blog post . Birthdays, suggested events, and events you're invited to now show up as a list or as thumbnails in a calendar, letting you respond to an invite from a drop-down box that appears within the calendar view. Coincidentally, or not so much, this follows the launch of a plush new events feature on rival Google+. Google+ Events , first showed off and activated at Google's I/O conference in late June, makes good use of Google’s multiple products, seamlessly linking Google+, Google Calendar and Gmail features, with convenient but non-essential add-ons, like letting event attendees automatically upload photographs to a group bin on the event page.
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