Facebook’s Circle Hacks is Fun, but a Thinly-Veiled Reproduction of Google+’s Circlets

Melanie Gross
Jul 3, 2011
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
Apps, Facebook

It seems the Facebook development team is not at all amused by Google+’s way of handling groups. The new social networking network utilizes “circlets” – small units in which you can arrange your groups of friends. The idea is that you might find the process of choosing and organizing friends less fabricated than on Facebook. After all, if there is one thing what users seem to be growing more and more upset about with Facebook, it is probably how fake the friend-adding process seems to be. In their ongoing effort to see you enjoying practicality over novelty, Google integrated circlets to keep your friends organized in the most common sense ways possible.

Facebook is not happy. They think that Google+ simply borrows from the already existing Facebook Lists feature the old monster has. And a handful of Facebook engineers have quickly put together a new online, off-Facebook feature that allows you to organize your friends in a similar way – even if it does not change the actual Facebook experience for users at all.

You can try it out yourself by following this link to the online application’s webpage, which allows you to login to Facebook and start organizing your friends without delay. Begin by looking through your Facebook friends and making a few distinctions. Identify which ones have common interests and might find certain information that you put on Facebook most interesting. In general, find out who you want in particular Facebook lists, if you have not already set a few up.

Then start dragging them down into the open circle at the bottom left corner of the window. Once you have added all the friends you feel deserve to be in a particular list, click Create list in the middle of the circle and watch as the program – you guessed it – creates a list.

Once you have made a few lists – calling them circles just does not seem genuine – visit Facebook and take a look at your results. You will be amazed to find… well, you probably will not be amazed by anything you find. Frankly, if you are one of the people who find Circle Hack to be useful in getting your friends sorted into lists, it’s probably because you have not set up lists in the first place. And if you have made it this long without setting up lists, one must wonder how useful you will find them at this point in the game.

If you are the sort of person who is a little upset that you missed the first train to Google+, you might find organizing your friends on Circle Hack a useful endeavor. Understand, however, that while Google+’s circlets are extremely useful and are in many ways the basis for Google’s entire social network, Circle Hacks is little more than a petty attempt by a handful of Facebook developers to prove that they can copy good ideas.

Still, Circle Hacks can be fun, and if you are looking to reorganize your friends it is probably worth a try. Just do not get Circle Hacks and Google+’s circlets confused – you don’t want to abandon the newest social network because of a Facebook distraction.

Update: And Circle Hacks for Facebook is gone. We are not aware of a comparable service at this point in time.


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  1. EntrepreNerd said on July 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I love Google+ and think Circles goes far deeper in function than people seem to realize. As an example, you can use the Android App, or Google+ mobile site, to Check-in to locations with only certain Circles, in a private and targeted manner. This is somethings no other check-in service offers.

    One thing that drove me nuts about this article is the use of the word, “circlets”. No where in the service it self, or in any mention of the service, is the word “circlets” used. They are “Circles”, as in “Circles” of friends. Not “circlets” of friends.

  2. Kyle said on July 4, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I’m kinda curious on how will Facebook respond to this… Google+ is pretty good and has the potential to take facebook. I just wonder if Microsoft will create something similar to this one or they’ll just have to settle with facebook when Windows Phone 7.1 will be released

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