So for the longest time (and Derek can be my witness), I’ve wanted a Friends Suggester feature in Facebook. What a Friends Suggester is is a tool that’ll automatically suggest people who you might know based on who your friends are. In other words, typically if 5 of your friends know a particular person that isn’t your friend yet, there is a likely chance this particular person is someone you know too.
Anyway, when Facebook Apps were starting, I thought an app like this would quickly show up. At first we thought it wasn’t possible due to privacy reasons, but it turns out that your friends list is typically open to public and all the app would need is just the list of friends of all your friends and then do some mashing work.
When Facebook introduced Suggest A Friend, I thought that was what I was looking for. However, it turns out it was meant so you as a human (and not the computer) to suggest friends to new people on Facebook.
A week or 2 ago, Facebook finally added what’s been long overdue: People You May Know:
People You May Know
Found based on your existing connections
Do you know any of these people?
Add people you know as friends to make these results even better for you.
This is exactly what Friends Suggester is. It shows you a list of people that it thinks you might know and even shows the list of common friends between you two. I’ve already added 5+ friends since I found this tool.
There are still some ways to improve it. Currently they only suggest 25 people randomly to you. If you refresh the page, the list changes with some new and some old. There appears to be no order of any sort and algorithm to determine which people you’re more likely to be friends with. I’d say the more friends you share between each other, the more likely you two are friends. Having the ability to see ALL suggested friends, even if it iterates over many pages, would be nice. Sitting here hitting refresh hoping to find a friend that may pop up after awhile just isn’t that great.
Another thing they should add is the ability to discard people you don’t know. No matter how many times you show me person A, if I don’t know him, I’m not going to add him to my friends list. There is the case where you might end up being friends later, so maybe the ability to ignore a particular person for 3 months or 6 months would be another option.
All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this new tool so far.
I knew I forgot something. I had also wanted it to automatically email me when it thinks a new possible friend pops up in the list or alert me somehow. However it turns out they already have this feature. I just got this email:
_____ just joined Facebook. You are getting notified of this because our “People You May Know” tool discovered you and _____ both work at Microsoft. If you do know _____, check out the links below.
To add _____ as a friend, follow this link:
To view _____’s profile, follow this link:
The Facebook Team