Facebook announced today that very limited versions of profiles will soon become open to search engines and visible to non-members. This is a good thing. It means that Facebook can become, as GigaOM says, the quasi-White Pages of the Web. Naturally, Facebook has put up the proper privacy options so that you can exclude your profile from public searches. All they show to non- members is your name and picture, so there’s not a huge reason to stay hidden, but it’s good to have the option there. I’d actually like to have even more control over what becomes public. The ability to show my profile to search engines along with certain public information (what school I went to, my current city of residence, who my friends are) would allow me to make Facebook my primary profile page online, as opposed to having one on Vox, one on TypePad, one with TypeKey, etc., all with different settings and all of which need to be updated when I move.
One quibble: their little privacy setting box says “everyone” when it means “all Facebook members.” On a page where you’re talking about delineating between the entirety of the Web and just your own members, these things should be explicit.