Facebook iPhone App Update Brings Groups, Deals for Places

Facebook held a live media event today to show off a few new mobile initiatives, including an updated iPhone (s aapl) app. The update brings more Places features, including Deals for Places, and support for the recently introduced Facebook Groups.

You can now see retailers offering special deals and coupons to those using Facebook Places highlighted in the menu of nearby locations. Luckily, that’s as intrusive as the feature gets, so people who don’t use Facebook’s check-in service won’t notice any changes. Deals are currently only available in the U.S., but international expansion is intended down the road. You can also now flag friends in the Places list to make it easier to check in with them.

Groups are now also accessible from the home screen in the updated app. You can write posts and share photos with others in your Groups, though you can’t perform administrative actions like adding and removing members. The update, which brings Facebook for iPhone up to version 3.3.1, is available now in the App Store.

Mark Zuckerberg also dodged a question about the prospects for an iPad app at the event, revealing that he doesn’t consider it a mobile device. He later clarified that he wasn’t trying to knock the Apple tablet, but rather just pointing out that the event was supposed to be mobile-focused, so the iPad wasn’t considered a relevant topic of discussion.

Facebook Head of Mobile Products Erick Tseng noted that the iPad already had access to the social networking site via two great avenues, the regular site and the iPhone-optimized site. An iPad app didn’t seem to even be on the table, but maybe an HTML5-optimized web-based version is more in keeping with Facebook’s future mobile goals.

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