One of the things I’ve heard the Google+ fanbois go on about is how cool Circles are: you can actually group your friends and share content (or not) by those groups – why doesn’t Facebook do that?!
The answer, of course, is that they do… and have since 2007.
The problem with Facebook’s Friends Lists, though, is that they are notoriously hard to use and obscurely placed on the site so that only persistent power users ever find or use them. That was okay with Facebook, apparently, until the competition arrived and showed them up.
Facebook appears set to leapfrog Google+ now with a feature called “Smart Lists” which is in testing with a small group of users. According to Inside Facebook, Smart Lists will group friends by characteristics that they have in common and will keep themselves up to date. Provided the functionality is accurate, this would be even easier than Circles since you wouldn’t even have to keep things updated, bringing Friends Lists from worst to first on the features list.
How close this functionality is to the street is anyone’s guess at this point, but the test is a step in the right direction. If this is the kind of improvement competition brings on though, we hope Google+ will be around for a long time!