Ever since Facebook launched Facebook Chat one year ago, grouping contacts inside the Facebook Chat window has been a top user request. This afternoon, Facebook just turned on grouping friends by Friend Lists in Facebook Chat – and also started allowing users to turn their visibility on and off per Friend List. Here’s how it looks:
After choosing which Friend Lists to show in the chat window, friends included in selected lists show up at the top of the list. Other friends remain in the chat window below selected Friend Lists in a group called “Other Friends.”
However, the most interesting new feature is the ability to turn your visibility on and off for individual friend lists. Say, for example, you want to be available to work friends during the day but not after certain hours, or vice versa – now you can. The “slider” next to each friend list name lets you make yourself visible or invisible to that particular friend list.
Originally used for privacy settings, the concept of Friend Lists is becoming much more thoroughly used throughout Facebook these days. With the launch of the new home page a few weeks ago, Facebook promoted Friend List creation to the home page. They can also be used to send Facebook Messages to entire groups of Facebook friends at a time.