Facebook's Smart Lists Make Social Circles for You

If you like the idea of dividing up your friends into discrete groups like Google+ does but don't have the energy for that much dragging and dropping—or for Google+, generally—Facebook's new Smart Lists could be a tender mercy.

The feature—which started rolling out recently to select users, and will presumably see broader deployment soon—automatically groups your friends into three categories: coworkers, classmates, and people who live within 50 miles of you. It seems as though you'll be able customize statuses and messages to members of a particular list, so you won't end up bugging your Oregonian friends with your impassioned defense of Maryland's new college football uniforms.

So it's narrower than your entire friend list, and broader than Facebook Groups. Does that mean Smart Lists hits a social sweet spot? Maybe. Or maybe it's just another unnecessary distraction from your FarmVille harvesting. [TechCrunch, Screengrab via @NickStarr]