Facebook improves barely-used Friends Lists

Facebook’s taking another leaf out of Google’s book, by introducing a feature that automatically groups friends into different circles.

It’s updated its Friends Lists to automatically sort friends by work, school, family and city – which can be edited manually – and added the ability to create lists for close friends and acquaintances.

“For instance, if you list Boston College as a school you’ve attended and your friends John and Sarah do too, then you would instantly have a smart list called ‘Boston College’ with John and Sarah on it,” says Facebook’s Blake Ross.

“This means that if you’re having a grad party or a college reunion, you can easily share photos with just your college friends, without bothering other people you know.”

The new feature also adds the ability to create a ‘restricted’ list for those times when you really, really don’t want the boss to see what you got up to last night.

Each list has its own news feed. When making a post, the user simply selects which list or lists it should be shared with.

Currently, only around one in twenty Facebook users bothers to use the Friends Lists feature.

“Lists have existed for several years, but you’ve told us how time-consuming it is to organize lists for different parts of your life and keep them up to date,” says Ross.

The new Friends Lists will be made available worldwide this week, and will be rolled out to mobile users soon.