Facebook Takes Another Cue from Google+ with Subscribe Button

Paul Lilly

You can now follow people you don't personally know on Facebook, just like on Google+ and Twitter. All you have to do is mash the Subscribe button in the upper-right corner of someone's profile. You're then given the same granular control over subscription feeds as you are with your friends, allowing you to filter how much information gets piped to your news feed.

Facebook is pitching this feature as a way for you to "hear from interesting people you're not friends with -- like journalists, artists, and political figures." And that's a fair description. But it's also a sign that Facebook is clearly feeling the pressure from Google+ and doesn't want to become the next MySpace.

"Google+ was a major wake-up call for Facebook," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Enderle Group in Silicon Valley, according to an AFP report . "They were awakened to the fact that they could be another MySpace; so they suddenly got very aggressive on moving the ball forward so they couldn't get caught."

Earlier this week Facebook also unveiled so-called Smart lists and other changes clearly influenced by Google+'s Circles. While Facebook has had the ability to tailor friend lists for quite some time now, before the recent changes, most viewed the process as overly complicated.

Getting back to the Subscription feature, if you want to allow people to subscribe to your profile, you have to opt-in. You do that by going to the Subscriptions Page and clicking Allow Subscribers. From there you can choose who is allowed to comment and the type of notifications you'll receive.

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