Facebook Debuts Smart Lists: Is Google+ in Trouble?

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Facebook Adds New FeaturesWhen Google+ launched in late June, it provided users with segmentation options that empowered them to selectively share information with friends and acquaintances. The segmentation options, which Google+ appropriately named “Circles,” allowed people to easily categorize relationships into Circles such as friends, family, or acquaintances. Finally, it was possible to share something with a close friend or family member and not broadcast that message to the other 500+ “friends” in your social network. The ability to create Circles and segment friends resulted in tens of millions of users, a feat that demanded Facebook’s attention.

Facebook recently began rolling out its latest update, which is most likely a response to the success experienced by Google+. The new Facebook update will vastly improve the quality of the Facebook user experience by automatically segmenting friends into one of the following categories (Smart Lists):

  1. Friends you attended school with
  2. Friends who live <50 miles from you
  3. Friends you work with

In addition to the automatic segmentation (Smart Lists), Facebook is promoting a little-known feature that enables users to manually organize friends into a Friend List. This feature, which has been on Facebook for quite some time, allows Facebook users to manually segment friends in the following manner:

  1. Restricted – People who you do not want to share information with
  2. Acquaintances – People you do not want featured prominently in your News Feed
  3. Close Friends – People you want to hear from often

The combination of Smart Lists, Friend Lists, and updated privacy settings will allow Facebook users to selectively and easily share information with their friends. Once a Facebook user’s friends have been segmented into a Smart List or Friend List, the user can share content with a specified list and filter the news feed by list.  The increased competition between Facebook and Google+ should drive both services to become even better in the near future.

[Source Include: Facebook, ZDNet, & Mashable]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO),... Read Full Bio
David Angotti
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  • Shannon

    Interesting! I did not know this … but I am just not sure it’s worth the work anymore. I have so many people on Facebook now, from co-workers to relatives that I just don’t really post on there as much anymore. I don’t want to have to worry about remembering to put people into lists just so I can post things without them seeing. However, I do think this is a great addition to their site. But maybe it’s more for the whippersappers out there who want to post pics of themselves doing keg stands without their mom or boss seeing.


  • Cindy

    Great article. Pardon my French when I say this has the makings of a Google vs Facebook pi*sing contest. I wonder who will win ? I always thought Google was the big cheese, but next to Facebook I just don’t know. Maybe both are turning into cheese whiz.

  • Veronica

    I think this is a great step for them, but I don’t think it’s nearly enough to compete with Google+ users who flocked to it for the circles feature. Just because someone is a friend within 50 miles doesn’t mean they all fit the same ‘label’ Users will need to be able to make their own ‘lists’ (circles) I think in order for it to really even have a chance of competing with Google+

  • Robert@Reverse Phone Search

    FaceBook is constantly making life difficult for its competitors.Yesterday I read that AOL has sold its $850 million acquisition ‘Bebo’.That say a lot about what it is like being in Social Media Competition.If you do not catch up with the standards set by FaceBook then you are in trouble and Google is already feeling the heat.

  • Leo AW

    This Google+ and Facebook battle only lead to one thing, a better social network experience for us, the users. I use both of them, so in my opinion, let them fight.

  • Patricia

    Here is what I don’t like about Facebook and their updates. They tend to take a heavy hand with the ‘assuming control’ maneuvers. In other words, fine, offer up the lists, that’s a great idea… but why is there a mandatory segmentation? Aren’t we smart enough to decide where we put our own friends? Don’t we get to ultimately decide without having to go back, and undo all the stuff that’s done automatically? What if the people who live more than 50 miles from you are your family because you moved out of state?!

    Facebook is great, but they still have an awful lot to learn about things like privacy, free will, and public relations with their users. I’d love to see them finally ‘get it’ – though I’m not holding my breath on that one.

  • norm

    This sounds pretty limited compared to the functionality and flexibility of Google+ Circles. I mean, friends who live within 50 miles of me? Is that really helpful? And nothing for Family? And why a group of high school friends? Wouldn’t a class page work much better? I would have expected a much better response from Facebook to Google’s challenge. So to answer the question in your title, no, this is not the reason Google+ is in trouble. The reason Google+ is in trouble, is because Facebook can release bandaids in place of real functionality, and still dominate the social market space. Google built it, but until people really come and use it, it will have a hard time putting a dent into Facebook.