Facebook Launches Page Discovery “Browser”

Facebook has launched a new way to “Discover Facebook’s Popular Pages” called Browser. It shows icons of Pages that are popular in a user’s country, but factors in which Pages which are popular amongst their unique friend network. When the Page icons are hovered over they display a Like button. Browser could cause popular Pages to get more popular, widening the gap between them and smaller Pages, similar to the frequently criticized and since abandoned Twitter Suggested User List.

Browser also shows a “Friends similar to you” leaderboard displaying with which friends you share the most most mutual Likes. It’s currently unclear how users can navigate to utility other than through the URL http://www.facebook.com/pages/browser.php

Browser joins existing Page discovery methods including news feed stories, profiles of friends, the “add interests” step of the new user flow, recommended Pages sidebar modules, and advertisements. Stimulating Page growth is important to Facebook. As Pages gain more Likes and show their ability to drive clicks, more businesses will choose to start Pages, and some will pay Facebook to promote them. Users gain a richer experience through access to relevant branded content when they Like more Pages, and Facebook strengthens their role as a portal.

Browser’s tab title reads “Find Interests”, and its header explains, “See something interesting? Roll over the Page and click Like to receive updates in your News Feed.” Users can view Pages from all categories simultaneously, or from specific categories including brands, media, games and celebrities. Users can quickly Like many Pages, turning their icons dark blue, since they’re not redirected upon Liking.

The “Friends similar to you” can be expanded to show your 25 most similar friends, and links pop-up a window displaying all the Likes you have in common with that friend. Similar to Facebook photo albums, Browser automatically loads more Page icons when you scroll to the bottom. Changing one’s country using the drop down in the top right of Browser lets users see what Pages are popular in other countries.

Browser is a sleek way to discover Pages those in your nation or your circle of friends Like. It will help users better align their Likes and actual interests since they can choose between many Pages and find those which best represent them. By increasing the influence of one’s existing Likes and those of their friends into Browser’s display algorithm, Facebook can keep this new feature from merely inflating already popular Pages.

Thanks to Eti Suruzon for the tip.

Update: Browser can no longer be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/browser.php The feature may have only been a test since it was not formally announced by Facebook.