A few days ago when I clicked on the Facebook mobile app, I wondered why my GPS went into a frenzy searching for my location. I quickly dismissed it as a satellite thingy that must have been happening in outer space. Not so! It turns out that last Thursday, Facebook launched a new feature called Nearby Friends.
The feature enables you to broadcast your location with friends in the area. If you see someone nearby with whom you want to meet up, you can tap a button, and send them your exact location: complete with a map detailing where to find you.
According to Mashable, this is an effort from Facebook to encourage more users to connect offline. It sounds a bit like Facebook wants to know too much… or do they? For those who are privacy conscious, this new feature is a no-no. You probably don’t even have your GPS on so why bother with Nearby Friends right?
Depending on how many genuine connections or “friendships” one has on Facebook, this feature could actually be a very useful tool for people who love socializing. For instance, if you and a certain friend have never been able to work out an ideal time to meet, one day you could be nearby each other and decide to have coffee. What’s the harm in a quick hello? On the bright side of things, you could also formulate an escape route if you are avoiding somebody. It really just depends how crafty you are.
The feature was built to give users control over what they share, and with whom. For the curious minds, here’s how it works:
You can turn on Nearby Friends by clicking on the chat menu in the app’s upper right-hand corner. If the feature has been rolled out to you, it will appear at the top of the page, above the list of friends who are online. There’s a chance you may not have the feature, yet; Facebook is rolling it out slowly, and just to U.S. users for now. Wait… this means my GPS truly went crazy due to a satellite thingy coz we don’t have the feature in Zambia yet.
Still it’s good to keep an eye out for it because it is coming to a location near you soon! And also they probably won’t make a big fuss when it’s available here so we are pre-empting the roll out.
Image credit: Mashable