has the scoop on a new Facebook feature that asks members to suggest friends for new users. The feature is a refinement of the "people you may know" feature that Facebook quietly launched in March. Because new users don't have many connections, the "people you may know" feature has no friends to draw upon (since it works by seeing who you are connected to by degrees through current friends). This new feature relies on human suggestions from the few friends new users do have to fill in the gaps for new users.Nick O'Neil
"One of the biggest challenges on Facebook is the loss of new users that are not able to connect immediately with other members," writes O'Neil. "As such, Facebook is trying to engage these users as much as possible and connect them with people they may know."
We see this as further evidence that Facebook is gearing up to court the business crowd. While far less formal than LinkedIn's introductions feature, Facebook's friend suggestions could certainly be laying the groundwork for that sort of functionality. Right now friend suggestions are only prompted for new users, and they're unsolicited (i.e., users aren't asking for them), but the feature is definitely a relative to the more sophisticated introductions tools presented at LinkedIn. It is easy to imagine that once users are comfortable with the idea of suggesting connections, a request feature could then be turned on.
As we pointed out in March, Facebook already has much of the necessary infrastructure to build out a set of business networking tools to compete with LinkedIn. Some of its recent moves -- friends lists, advanced privacy features, and now friend suggestions -- suggest that Facebook sees business networking as an area it should expand into.
Image via AllFacebook.com.