There are several ways to move your Facebook friends to Google+. They all require several steps to complete, but they generally work. Before you try it, ask yourself a few questions. Do I really want to replicate my Facebook "friends" on Google+? How many "friends" do I really want to move over? Maybe it is better to start fresh with a better way to organize my friends into natural social circles that reflect my real life interactions. That is what Google+ is about; social circles that match real life.
Most people started using Facebook four or five years ago, and it grew very fast. No one gave much thought to what it meant to "friend" someone. All your friends went into one big bucket. That worked fine when you had a small number of friends, but the incoming stream of updates got chaotic and noisy when you had hundreds or thousands of friends. You also had to think twice before sharing your photos or updates with everyone because your grandmother, uncle, old boyfriend, or anyone ever added to your friends list, would see it too. Google+ solves this problem with circles that you define and create. So, when you move your friends from Facebook to Google+, give some thought to how you want to organize them into separate circles.
The Transfer Process - Facebook has intentionally made it difficult for you to manage your friends list or move them anywhere else. There are several third party tools to help you do this and they all work in about the same way. Facebook is also actively shutting down or blocking these tools so you may want to do this sooner rather than later. Here is how it works;
- Set up a Yahoo email account if you don't already have one. It only takes a minute. Unfortunately, you can't use Gmail because Facebook has blocked it.
- Sign into your Yahoo mail account using Facebook.
- Go to email, click Tools, select Import from Facebook. You may need to try this several times for it to complete.
- Go to the Tools menu and select Export to CSV file. Give the file a name and save it to your desktop.
- Open Gmail and click Contacts, More Actions, Import. Browse to the CSV file you just imported.
- Give the New Group a name like "Facebook Friends" and begin the Import
- Go to Google+ Circles. Your imported Facebook Friends will show up under "Find & Invite".
- Add these friends to the Circles that make sense to you. You can also create new circles and invite them into those circles.
Here is a nice YouTube video that walks you through the process. HowToGeek also did a nice step by step explanation with screen shots. Scroll down to the section specifically related to importing friends.
The most important part of this process is setting up the appropriate sharing circles on Google+. Setting up separate circles allows you to share updates with confidence, knowing they are going to the appropriate people. Circles also help you on the inbound side by filtering the updates that come to you into relevant circles. This significantly cuts down on the "noise" you see on your Facebook stream.
Personally, I decided to start fresh with Google+ and not import my Facebook friends. There were just too many people in Facebook that were added long ago for the wrong reasons. Starting fresh with meaningful Google+ circles worked better for me. But, importing from Facebook may be perfect for other people. Your mileage may vary. I will have more suggestions about how to effectively organize your Google+ circles in my next post.
Check out my Google+ profile here. Add me to your circles and lets start sharing.
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