Facebook has unveiled “Nearby Friends”, a feature which allows the burgeoning social network to reach levels of interaction not seen before.
It is an optional feature which when turned on, allows people to see your location and you to see theirs, if they too have turned it on.
“The mission of Facebook is to connect people, to bring people together,” says Andrea Vaccari, the product manager for the new feature. “Nearby Friends sort of pushes that forward by making it a little easier to find new opportunities to meet your friends while you’re out and about.”
It also notifies you when friends are nearby, making it THAT much more convenient to meet with friends and hang out. Also, since you will be notified of every friend who is around your area, there is the possibility of more “Hey, haven’t met you in a long time” moments.
If you have a location for a party/hangout but your friends can’t find it, you can also broadcast your precise location to friends you choose for a set period of time. Then, friends will be able to come to your location via a map. Convenient, isn’t it?
Plus, if you are travelling, the “Travelling” sub-feature enabled Friends to see where you are, so that if your friends have visited the place before, they can give you tips, great restaurants, etc.
For those who fear that Facebook is building a privacy killing empire with the NSA, fret not, the feature is opt-in, as mentioned above, meaning it is entirely your choice to decide whether your location is to be broadcast or not.
The team behind the new feature is from Glancee, the find-people-with-similar-interests app which Facebook had acquired in 2012.
Nearby Friends will be rolling to Android and iOS users in the US over the coming weeks.