Facebook responds to Google+ Circles
It is well known that Facebook gathers users' data – it's how the social site determines what ads are displayed to whom.
But a new rollout of features has shown just how much information the website is capable of gleaning from basic posts and interactions.
In the past, users were able to group friends on Facebook, controlling who had access to particular sections of their online profiles.
Until now, this has required a lot of fiddling with back-end menus – and viewing the results could be easily described as 'painful'.
With Google+, the procedure is relatively simple – users can group their contacts and control their posting via an easy to use drag-and-drop interface known as Circles.
Facebook has caught up with the idea that people want to have increasing levels of control over their interactions.
From September 9, users will have their friends automatically grouped according to how the social network perceives their relationship – be it friends, family, school buddies or co-workers – demonstrating just how much information the site can scrape form post.
Of course, a major source of the information will be the user's own profile, with many participants already likely to have indicated their education and occupation as soon as they join.
Three different lists will be made available to users, including co-workers, educational relationships and geographic location.
It is not clear at this stage how much control the end user will have over the grouping, as it is likely to be based on supplied user data rather than direct intervention.
However, the other new offering – Friends Lists – gathers contacts based entirely on an individual's settings, giving your news feed a more personalised appearance.
It groups users' followers into Close Friends and Acquaintances – with the provision of a Restricted setting for those people you're just not too sure you want to know more about.