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This article was published on September 13, 2011

Facebook’s new Friends List features get smarter, and more like Google+

Facebook’s new Friends List features get smarter, and more like Google+

If you’ve ever wanted to read updates from only certain lists of friends, or perhaps have an easier way to send messages to them, Facebook is here for you today. According to The Facebook Blog, Friends Lists just got a lot easier to use:

  • Smart lists – You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info 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.

The Smart Lists feature is probably the most interesting new addition. Based on your demographic information, Facebook will now group people who match the parts that you’ve specified. So whether it’s college, a job or some other place to which you belong, you’ll now have an automatic list of the friends who are part of it with you.

The “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” is where Facebook is getting a lot like Google+. With Google+, it’s very easy to separate people with whom you want to stay connected but you’re not close from those that you might consider your inner circle (all puns intended). Facebook is now offering de facto sorting for these types of people, instead of you having to create the lists yourself.

What’s also impressive about how Facebook is treating lists is that the site is now aiming to give you better suggestions for who belongs where. This is an area where Google+ has yet to perfect its algorithms, and it’s a welcome addition.

As you can see in the screenshot here, Facebook will now offer you a dropdown that shows where you might want to place a friend in its lists. Not only does this make the process faster, it should be interesting to see the connections that Facebook ties between people.

Reactions in the comments to the Facebook blog are mixed. While many people have noticed almost immediately the similarities to Google+, others aren’t very welcoming to the change. We’ll have to see how it all pans out, but Facebook’s newfound focus on privacy is welcome.

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