Facebook Begins Auto-Grouping Friends Into Smart Lists

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You’ve got 500-something friends, all of about 50 you really interact with. You went to school with Lucy and Henry, you’ve worked with Mike for years, and Joe lives just down the block. Facebook knows all of this — it just doesn’t really go out of its way to show that it knows all of this. Until now.

Sometime recently, Facebook began rolling out “Smart Lists” to select users — which, as the name implies, intelligently groups certain obvious groups of friends into pre-packaged lists. Take that, Google Plus!

So far, it looks like Facebook is automatically grouping friends into three different bunches:

  • People you work with
  • People you attended school with
  • People who live within 50 miles of you

If nothing else, that last one should be pretty handy for finding a few bar buddies on the quick without bugging your whole friends list (or, if we’re going for more practical stuff here, blasting out the cliche “Oh my God! Earthquake! Did anyone else feel that!” updates without sending it out to people who are on the other side of the world and obviously didn’t feel that.)

Following the launch of Google Plus and its absurdly easy-to-use grouping system, Facebook has taken a good amount of flack for their rather archaic list creation tools. Might this be the first of many improvements? The three pre-generated lists are nice, but when will I be able to be able to make my own smart lists, a la iTunes Smart Playlists? Yeah yeah, school friends, cool — when will I be able to auto-generate a list of all my friends who happen to share my love for John Leguizamo flicks? Screening partyyyyy!

[Thanks to @NickStarr for shooting the screenshot above our way]