Facebook rolling out 'smart lists' of friends
San Francisco: Facebook on Tuesday introduced "smart lists" that automatically sort friends into categories and prioritize news from those dearest to members of the world's largest online social network.
The rollout of smart lists commences on Wednesday and comes as rival Google+ seeks to win over users by providing sharing in "circles" that mirror real-world social groups such as family, friends, and co-workers.
"This is really something we have been working on for four years," Facebook director of product management Blake Ross said as he gave AFP a preview of smart lists.
"We think this is the way people will make lists going forward," he continued.
Facebook began in 2007 letting members individually sort friends into lists for targeted sharing of comments, photos and other digitized snippets of life.
The smart lists feature spares Facebook users the tedium of creating lists by automatically putting friends into groups, with the first four categories being work, school, family and city.
"It is silly for you to spend a Saturday afternoon categorizing your friends on Facebook," Ross said. "We want to make it as easy as possible to organize your friends."
Smart lists are created and updated based on information people consent to share with friends on Facebook, according to Ross.
"Smart lists take all the pain out of organizing friends on Facebook," Ross said, noting that the feature was optional. "You can always add to or remove people from a smart list after Facebook makes a recommendation."