Facebook is upgrading its Friend Lists feature in an effort to make it more useful for users.
The feature, which debuted in 2007, is currently used by less than 5% of users, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The revamp is designed to make Friend Lists easier to manage and more popular.
The changes include Smart Lists, sharing content to lists, consuming content from lists and two new lists: “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances. ” Facebook has been testing these features for the past few days and intends to roll it out to all users in the coming weeks.
While there is a similarity that between Facebook’s newly introduced Friends lists and Google+ Circles, The difference between both the features is that Google+ asks you to create your circles of friends while Facebook does that for you.
The problem with current solutions for organizing friends (i.e. Google+ Circles) is that users simply don’t enjoy taking the time to organize their friends into groups, Facebook Product Manager Blake Ross told Mashable. So Facebook decided to find a way to automatically curate Friend Lists on behalf of the user.
The result is Smart Lists and suggestions.
- Smart lists- Smart Lists automatically creates and update lists based on profile info your friends have in common with you–like your work, school, family and city.
- Suggestions- Facebook uses its algorithms to determine which friends may belong in a group.
Facebook is also introducing two other Friend Lists: Close Friends and Acquaintances.
Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – If you add a friend to Close Friends, for example, that friend’s posts will appear more prominently in your News Feed. On the other hand, adding a friend to the Acquaintances list will assure you don’t see that person’s posts unless it’s major news.
While these changes feel like an answer to the rise of Google+, the search giant’s social network, Ross says that’s not the case. “We’ve been iterating on this in the last four years,” he said. He thinks that nobody has done friend grouping right. He believes that Smart Lists and automatic friend grouping is a step toward taking away the pain of organizing friends.