Facebook announced today that, beginning this week, users will begin to see improved “Friend Lists”. The new features are very similar to Google+ features. Recognizing that lists are often hard to organize, Facebook has sought to make the task a little more simple. They announced three improvements:
Smart lists – You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info that your friends have in common with you–like your work, school, family and city.
Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – You can see your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.
Better suggestions – You can add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.
“Smart Lists” is the first feature to be added. They are automatically populated based on four categories:
For example, if you list a high school on your profile, and your other friends list the same school, then they will automatically be added to a smart list with that school’s name as the heading. Though they are automatically generated, these lists can be manually edited. With these smart lists, you can share photos with a specific list instead of blasting it out to everyone.
For those friends to whom you are closest, there is now a “Close Friends” list. When you add friends to this list, it will prioritize their posts to show up in your news feeds. You now have the ability to see a feed with only your closest friend’s photos and posts in it. You can also set notifications for when they post. There is also an “Acquaintances List”. When you move people to this group, you will see less of their posts in your news feed. Major changes, like marital status, will still show up in your feed. The “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” lists are manually updated by you. Facebook will not attempt to figure out who belongs in these groups.
The last feature improvement was to friend suggestions. Facebook will now make recommendations based on your lists. When you add a friend, you will be able to choose right then which list is appropriate for them. In the picture below, you can see an example of how this will look.
Not only can you use lists to see exactly what you want, but you can also limit who sees what you post. You can use the “audience selector” button on each post, which will let you choose the lists that you want to be able to see that post. You can also use the “audience selector” next to every detail in your profile.
I believe that these changes are a huge step in the right direction. There is a lot of criticism on the blog comments already about Facebook wanting to be like Google+. Personally, I believe that these changes are a no-brainer and bring much needed improvement to their service.
What do you think? Are these features you will find useful? I would love to hear your thoughts.