Facebook launches Nearby Friends feature for mobile

 

Wondering which of your Facebook friends are in the neighborhood? Facebook now gives you that answer. Soon, Android and iOS users will be able to opt-in to a location service called Nearby Friends.

Facebook stressed in the blog post announcement that this is opt-in (compared to many other services Facebook launches, which are opt-out). Facebook has done something similar in the past, where users are notified when a friend checks in somewhere nearby, but now you’ll be able to see who is around without them checking in.

Users who do this will be able to choose who can see their location.

Product Manager Andrea Vaccari wrote about this new feature:

Sharing your location with Nearby Friends goes two ways — you and your friends both have to turn on Nearby Friends and choose to share with each other to see when you’re nearby. Your friends will only be able to see that you’re nearby if you share this info with them and vice versa.

If you turn on Nearby Friends, you can also choose to share a precise location with the particular friends you choose for a set period of time, such as the next hour. When you share your precise location, the friend you choose will see exactly where you are on a map, which helps you find each other. Then you can meet up and spend time together.

You can also share location information with someone up until a specific time. This will help when you’re meeting someone, but don’t want them tracking you throughout the day.

Vaccari wrote about a couple possible uses for Nearby Friends:

When Nearby Friends is on, you can see when your friends are traveling if they’re also using this feature and sharing with you. You’ll be able to see the city or neighborhood they are in, including on their profile. When you see a friend visiting a place you’ve been, it’s the perfect opportunity to send a recommendation for a great restaurant. You can also make last-minute plans to meet up with a friend who happens to be in the same place you’re headed to.

Facebook will roll this out to Android and iOS users in the coming weeks.

Readers: How do you feel about this feature?

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