I’m not worth of an invite to the test group for Facebook’s latest friend-finding browser, but the lucky people who are get to tinker around with the new features at http://www.facebook.com/find-friends/browser. This appears to be an incremental improvement upon the social network’s existing methods for asking users whether they might know others based on mutual friendships.
The latest twist now undergoing testing adds friend suggestions based on the same location, education provider or employer. I suspect that this sort of thing is best appreciated by those who have already maxed out Facebook’s existing abilities to suggest friends. Perhaps these folks have relatively closed circles of friends, or who have more limited associations with others. I think increasing the number of friends one has on Facebook makes one’s news feed busier, and that in turn makes the site stickier for you.
I have yet to max out the existing friend recommendations despite having more than 500 connections on my Facebook profile. It seems like there’s never any end to the number of friends that the social network suggests to me based on multiple mutual friendships. I happen to fit into three broad clusters of profiles that are all very social. They include journalists and technologically inclined folks, both being demographics that use Facebook heavily.
But my largest social cluster by far happens to be something I’m only allowed to hint about (Think “The first rule of Fight Club is don’t talk about Fight Club.”). I’m talking about an extremely social, worldwide organization that has 700 different chapters in San Francisco alone. Based on that description, it’s not surprising Facebook continues to point out people who share at least a dozen mutual friends with me.
Between that, and the social network’s ability to suggest friends based on one’s email address book, I just can’t fathom how increasing Facebook’s friend recommendation powers might turbo-jet the number of friend recommendations I get. There’d have to be an additional pop-up window or something! So, I’m curious to find out the reactions of participants in the test group for the new friend recommendation feature. Readers, if you happen to be in the test group or know someone who is, what have you seen and heard about it?