Some might consider it to be a major breach of privacy, but Facebook sees it as a major feature. With "Nearby Friends", the Facebook mobile app will be able to tell you if any of your contacts are - as you'd expect - nearby. This feature was first rumored just over a year ago, and at the time, many were up-in-arms - oblivious as to how Facebook could consider such a privacy-threatening feature. Well, despite those cries, it's here.
The upside: It's opt-in. This is an incredibly important distinction, because part of the last rumor led us to believe that it'd be on by default. Obviously, such a move wouldn't go down too well, and it seems clear that Facebook wouldn't have wanted that kind of backlash. It's a good thing, too, because I personally have no interest in such a feature, and I know I'm not alone.
Still, even as an opt-in feature, it's prone to side-effects. A lot of people - especially the younger generation - have a countless number of people on their Facebook that are not actually friends. With this feature, they may get more unexpected visits than they anticipated. Likewise, what if you're simply not in the mood to hook-up with someone? This new feature is going to make that a little awkward.
Of course, it's impossible to ignore the possibilities of a feature like this being used for crime, but I'll leave those possibilities to your imagination.
Aside from that, the feature itself is designed well. Both friends will have to have this feature enabled in order to detect one another, and if it's established that a hook-up is wanted, you'll be able to give them the precise location where you're located.
It's worth noting that a feature like this isn't new. Last February, Foursquare launched the exact same thing. With Facebook, though, it's sure to make a bit of a bigger splash given its even greater use.
Will you be making use of it?
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