Over the next couple of weeks Facebook will roll out its newest feature – “Nearby Friends.” The feature, which will be built into the Facebook app and not a separate app (for now at least), will allow users to connect with friends in their neighborhood. In the coming weeks Facebook users will be invited to opt-in to the feature.
So, what happens when you opt-in? Those that choose to use the feature will have their location tracked, even when they are logged out of Facebook. They will be able to see the location of their friends (who have also opted-in) that are in the same neighborhood or close by. The user can choose to allow certain friends to see their exact location for a certain period of time, though both users must grant permission for specific locations to be shown. This function is mainly to allow users to meet up at crowded concert venues, etc. After the time period expires, the feature reverts back to its standard operating mode.
Facebook claims that users will experience minimal battery drain with this added feature. Privacy settings, similar to those on Facebook’s newsfeed feature, can be implemented so users can control whose locations they are viewing. Push notifications can be set up as well. And, Facebook claims that they have algorithms that allow the feature to learn about the user’s relationships. For instance, many users are friends with fellow employees on Facebook and wouldn’t want to receive notifications everyday when they walk into the office. The same goes for family members that live together and are Facebook friends.
Facebook hopes that the new feature will help create new relationships and increase interaction among friends in the real world, rather than online. What do you think? Will the new feature accomplish these goals? Let us know in the comments below!