Last week Facebook rolled out a new version of their very popular iPhone app. Aside from finally enabling push notifications, it also provided a new option to sync your address book with Facebook. At first I was skeptical of how well this would actually work, but count me impressed. Facebook's ability to match your phone contacts with personal Facebook information is very impressive.
Consider my experience this weekend. I received a phone call yesterday from a new business contact who I hadn't spoken to before. I missed the call, but I saved the number in my phonebook. This morning when he called back Facebook had automatically located his profile based on his phone number and name, inserted his picture into my contact listing, and linked me to his profile. I could see his company, and put a face to a name. This was especially impressive because I wasn't even connected to this person on Facebook- it was don't only through matching public information. Facebook facilitated my experience in a way that made the power of its personal information so very clear.
Now all of the sudden most of my contacts on my iPhone have faces on them, and each listing has a link to a Facebook profile. And you can imagine this is just the beginning- why shouldn't Facebook fill in the person's work information or home address, if the person has opted in for it? Then when friends move or change which company they work for I don't have to worry about updating my address book- they've likely updated their Facebook profile, and Facebook will update me.
The syncing doesn't work perfectly, but it's a lot more powerful than I expected. And now I feel like the listings in my phonebook are actually my friends, and my new contacts are real people. I can't wait to see where Facebook takes this next.