Although Facebook started out firmly locked within the ivory towers of academia, the company is becoming more and more open to the general public. The company has just announced that Facebook profile listings will soon be available, in a limited way, to people not logged in to Facebook. From Facebook’s blog:
Starting today, we are making limited public search listings available to people who are not logged in to Facebook … The public search listing contains less information than someone could find right after signing up anyway, so we’re not exposing any new information, and you have complete control over your public search listing. In a few weeks, we will allow these Public Search listings (depending on users’ individual privacy settings) to be found by search engines like Google, MSN Live, Yahoo, etc. … Please note that you will only appear in searches outside Facebook when your search settings are set to “Everyone.”
People worried about privacy should be able to stay off the listings, but it’s interesting to see Facebook opening up this way. I expect the listings to be included in profiles on people-search sites such as Spock, which previously couldn’t get data from the popular social network.