We've just discovered an awesome new feature that Facebook is using to experiment with friend request confirmation pages.
When you confirm a new friend, you'll be presented with four people that friend is connected to - four suggestions for people who might be mutual acquaintances based on your social graph. It's more useful and more accurate than the current friend/fan suggestion feature, and we actually like it a lot. Check out the screenshots, or try it for yourself the next time someone friend requests you.
Here's a screenshot of what happened for me when I approved a recent string of requests:
I realized that I did, in fact, want to be connected to quite a few of these people because our social graphs do have quite a bit of overlap and we've met in person or online. Some of these recommendations, such as Tara Hunt and Sarah Austin, popped up several times as they were mutual friends of more than one new friend I'd just confirmed. Smart tech!
"We are still testing it," wroteFacebook rep Kathleen Loughlin in an email, "but we've found that Facebook is a more valuable experience for people when they are able to find and connect with their friends. While we already have a variety of tools to help people connect, we've started experimenting with ways to make these tools even more accessible and easy to use."
We particularly enjoy this feature because it gives a more tangible reason to reach out to a new friend than the easily ignored "mystery people" column on the right side of the screen. Sure, they might have friends in common with me, but which friends? What social groups are they part of that relate to what I'm doing? Making and finding friends this way can require a bit of digging around, for example, realizing that you've actually met the person before because you go to the same conferences. So it's not ideal for at-a-glace suggestions sometimes.
What do you think of the new feature? Is it helpful or not for how you use Facebook and how you define or filter your Facebook friends? Let us know what you think about it in the comments.
Also, if you've got a moment, check out RWW's Facebook page! We'd love to have you as a fan.