So with all of the initial hoopla that came about when Google+ was created and how it was going to rival Facebook with the possibility of a potential social media takeover of Mark Zuckerberg’s giant, it appears that Google+ has finally at least stirred up the pot at Facebook to force some constructive moves to be made.
With the announcement released yesterday of Facebook’s Improved Friends List, Facebook users now have the option of grouping their friends into Smart Lists, Close Friend Lists, Acquaintance Lists, Restricted Lists and a Better Suggestions feature for newly added friends. Now, I am not sure how others first responded upon reading this announcement, but I initially thought that this “new addition” sounded oddly similar to a certain competitors Circles feature offered.
Let’s analyze each of these added features of Facebook Improved Friends List:
- Smart Lists– did you go to the same college as numerous of your friends? Do you have coworkers that you are friends with? Friends with Mom and Dad on Facebook, or just have individuals you’re friends with that you live in the same city as? Well, with smart lists, Facebook will automatically group these individuals that you have these relationships with in order to make communication with them much more personalized. Therefore, if you have a work outing and post pictures to your Facebook, it will only be shared with those such individuals who you have grouped as coworkers.
- Close Friend Lists– this list is very straight forward. Those people that you have as Facebook friends that you actually talk to in real life on a regular basis would be categorized here. Now it makes being able to know what they are doing every second of the day that much easier. This is a list that the users would actually put together on their own and would be able to directly communicate with this list as a separate entity.
- Acquaintance List– this is a list that I feel like would be significantly larger than the Close Friend List for the typical Facebook user. I would be willing to bet that nearly all Facebook users can scroll through their list of friends and either find people that they have no clue how they know that person, or they can find people that they have not spoken to in the duration of time that Facebook has even existed. This list would be the place to put those people, because the Acquaintance List would limit the amount of feed that you would see from these people since they are individuals that, as harsh as it may sound, you may not really necessarily care what they are constantly doing on a regular basis. (Side note, Google+ actually has an Acquaintance Circle.)
- Restricted List– this list would be reserved for those people that you are friends with on Facebook, but you do not wish for them to see the pictures from the great weekend you had, or be involved in conversations you may have with some of your other Facebook friends. By being on the Restricted List, a Facebook user would still be able to send them messages and remain in contact, but communication would just be more selective in that a restricted list patron would only be able to see public posts from that user.
- Better Suggestions– when a new friend is added to your profile, Facebook will now essentially guess as to where the new person should be listed in regards to your selected lists and place that person there unless otherwise specified by the user.
With the adaptation of these new lists, each one will have its own separate news feed in order to make the management and viewing of each differentiated. All in all the new lists are just another way to personalize ones Facebook profile to make it slightly more interactive and convenient for the user. With that being said there is a slight possibility that Facebook modeled the smart lists in a similar fashion to Google+ Circles, but then again, Facebook already had a feature that was similar before with Facebook Groups and not everyone is so keen on Google+ Circles.
In no way do I feel that Google+ is eventually going to surpass Facebook in the realm of social media, but what I do believe is that Facebook should essentially follow Google’s every move that they make when it comes to Google+. Or then again should it be the other way around, because it’s important to keep in mind that Facebook is the one with 750 million users to Google+’s 30 million. Bruce Henderson’s quote sums up this back and forth one-upper competition between these two social media powerhouses and can be viewed by both Google and Facebook in that, “Your most dangerous competitors are those that are most like.”