Facebook's New Feature Is a Real-Time Friend Tracker

Apr 17 2014 - 11:12am

Facebook is rolling out Nearby Friends [1], a new opt-in feature that takes the term "Facebook stalking" to a whole new level. If you turn on Nearby Friends, Facebook will use your GPS location to notify friends when you're in the area. The reverse is also true — if you enter the same area as your friends, Facebook will tell you who is around.

Creeped out? The social networking company stresses that Nearby Friends is optional. Both you and your friends must have the feature enabled to see each other's locations. Your location can also be limited to specific lists (for example: friends, family, or "close friends").

Facebook shows the proximity of friends by miles (one mile away, 1/2 mile away, etc.), then gives you the option to share your exact whereabouts in real time. If you tap the arrow button next to a friend's name, you can select how long your precise location will be shared, plus add a note.

Our friends at ReadWrite say that no one trusts Facebook to power the future [2], so we're interested to see how many users will opt in to Nearby Friends once it rolls out on Android and iPhone over the coming weeks. Real-time tracking apps (like Find My Friends [3]) already exist in the marketplace, so Facebook might be on to something.

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