Xbox Live update asks you to bring your friends

On December 4, Microsoft will roll out an update to the Xbox Live Dashboard that adds a social networking type of feature to the service.

Citing the popularity of Facebook and MySpace, Microsoft believes that social networking tools have come to be expected in online communities. And with over 8 million subscribers interacting with one another on a daily basis, the ability to view who is friends with whom and make new friends accordingly seems like a logical feature to add.

A user's friend list will become publicly browsable, and friend requests can be sent to "friends of friends."

A full feature list, however, has not been released and there are already two minor failings with the update.

First, once the update is installed, a user's friend list becomes viewable to all by default. The feature can be turned off before even installing the update, but users must go to xbox.com/fof to change settings.

Second, while users with limited-permission accounts (those under the age of 13) do not get this feature, if they've gotten older -- "aged out," in other words -- they may still have restricted accounts, and cannot then add the feature even if they qualify for it. Xbox Live's Major Nelson blog acknowledged this problem this morning, and said it is being worked on.

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