At a special event today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a coming update to its Facebook app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The update will include support for the new Facebook Groups feature rolled out last month as well as enhancing support for Facebook Places first introduced to the iPhone app earlier this year. The new application will expand support for Facebook Places with a focus on improving tagging features when checking in to Places. Users will now be able to tag their Facebook friends in a Place both during and after they’ve checked-in, and can now tag friends in places from the newsfeed. A new feature in Facebook Places will also allow users to upload photos to share during the Places check-in process. The new version will also add support for Facebook’s new Deals feature, allowing users to discover deals at nearby Places.
Facebook also announced improvements to Facebook Places integration with third-party applications allowing apps to not only read Places information but now also check-in and search for Places through the Facebook APIs. Loopt and Gowalla have already been offering these features since the initial rollout of Places as part of a private beta program; this functionality will now be available to any third-party applications that wish to implement it. The updated Facebook for iPhone app is expected to appear on the App Store soon along with updates to other location-based social applications such as Yelp that will tie in tighter Facebook Places integration. There was conspicuously no mention made of an iPad Facebook application.
Update: The new version of Facebook for iPhone is now available from the App Store. In addition to adding Groups, Places and Deals support, the updated version also provides a new composer view to make it easier to upload photos, status and check-ins right from the news feed. Facebook 3.3 also adds single-sign-on integration with other Facebook-enabled iPhone applications on iOS 4, allowing users to enable Facebook Connect in other applications without having to re-enter their Facebook user ID and password, although users will still need to view and consent to the standard Facebook permissions screen in third-party apps before Facebook Connect will be enabled.