There’s been a whole lot of shaking going on under the Facebook roof. You may remember we just talked about the recent change to Places and the dissolution of Deals, but since then a few more changes have been made to the #1 website in the world that I feel are worth talking about.
Before we talk about Facebook though, let’s talk a little about Google+. Many people are saying that the recent changes made by Facebook are in direct response to Google+’s features and that may very well be true. The social networking world was altered a bit when the powerhouse Google entered the game on June 28, 2011.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all came from nothing and had to build a following over time, but Google came in with a plethora of ready-made fans so it’s no surprise they had the fastest growth of any social network to date, but the rate of their growth was staggering (reaching 10 million fans in 16 days when it took Facebook 852 days to do the same). It seemed that Facebook might finally have some competition.
Enter Facebook’s announcement last Tuesday introducing Smart Friend Lists.
Facebook has always had the option to segment Friends into lists and manage what￼ content goes to which lists, but it was clunky and hard to find and even harder to regularly use. The lists were buried under the “Manage Friend List” button and rarely used by Facebook users (used by roughly only 5%), so Facebook has redesigned the whole process and hopes to give people the functionality that they have been excited about with Google+.
Facebook is hoping to revive the service with three improvements they announced on their blog last week. This is how they described those improvements:
“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.”
So, Facebook is going to be doing the work for you by automatically segmenting people into lists based off “work”, “school”, “family” and “city”. Each user will also have the ability to add or delete people from their own “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” lists. The “Close Friends” list will automatically populate all updates from those people into your New Feed, while “Acquaintances” will only show up when there is major news to announce (i.e. new jobs, weddings, babies, etc).
Like with Google + Circles, Facebook users will have the ability to segment their News Feeds by particular lists to only follow certain people as desired. Every user will have the option to build as many or as few lists as they want.
What does Facebook’s change mean for you as a Facebook user and you as a Business Page admin? Well, as a user, you’ll now have the ability to segment and follow certain people a whole lot easier and Facebook is hoping you will choose to do that instead of heading over and starting to use Google+. But don’t confuse these improvements with anything besides an answer to the impressive growth and support behind Google+.
The ball is now in Google+’s court and if I were a betting man, I would say expect to see￼ Google+ roll out business and brand profiles before the end of the year, which will be followed by Facebook’s answer of allowing users to Subscribe to Facebook Business Page feeds and create lists of businesses to follow.
The battle between Facebook and Google+ will be an interesting one to watch and no matter who wins, users of both platforms will be the true winners as each network tries to be easiest to use and most compatible with our lives.
Have you used Facebook and Google+ together? Which do you prefer and why? What features do you wish they would both add (or delete)?
Let the games begin!