Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Facebook quietly launches "Find Friends Nearby" feature

Facebook's launched a sneaky update to its mobile apps as well as its mobile site with a feature called "Find Friends Nearby". As the name suggests, the feature essentially finds your Facebook friends who are near you. Needless to say, the feature requires you to turn on location services on your mobile device. It seems the feature has been made available without an actual update to the Facebook app from the respective application stores. The feature was initially called Friendshake but the name was then changed to Find Friends Nearby for simplicity. According to TechCrunch, the URL through which the service can be accessed is http://fb.com/ffn which is essentially an abbreviation for "Find Friends Nearby". Early on in May, Facebook bought location service, Glancee, which obviously helped with the creation of Find Friends Nearby, either directly, or at least with sidestepping a patent suit. Glancee pretty much provided the same service i.e. ambient location services, showing you which friends are nearby. Facebook's Find Friends Nearby will now directly compete with Glancee's competitor, Highlight.

Facebook engineer, Ryan Patterson, who built Find Friends nearby commented that he built the feature with another engineer at a hackathon project. He said that the ideal use of the feature for him would be that if a user is out with a group of friends that they have just met and wants to stay in touch with the new friends, Find Friends Nearby, with its recommendation system, is almost a better search tool than Facebook's native search tool. The feature not only provides you with information on which of your friends is nearby but also which potential friends are nearby, that is, people you haven't added on the social network yet but you may have some sort of connection with. To access the feature within the Facebook application you have to click on the menu > apps > Find Friends > other tools > Find Friends Nearby. This is yet another step in Facebook wanting to take over the mobile space. They also launched Sponsored Stories for their mobile apps in a move to start monetizing from the applications. Of course, the Find Friends Nearby feature has already received outcry from users saying that it's a creepy feature. If you're worried about being 'found', you can always turn your location services off. What do you think? Creepy? Or fun? Let us know in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment