As if Facebook wasn’t already a nearly perfect medium for stalking, the social network launched a new features for its mobile apps, simply called Nearby Friends.
Fortunately, the new service is not on by default, and on top of that, people can choose the people they’re sharing their location with. The feature does not mean to replace such location services as Foursquare or Facebook’s own Check-In. Instead, it just enables you to see which of your friends are around. This would be particularly helpful when you have a lot of friends from other countries and you’d like to receive notifications when they’re in town.
Andrea Vaccari, Product Manager of Facebook, explained the concept of the new feature: “For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward.”
He went on to point out that the location is not just shared with other people, and you have the liberty of enabling or disabling it at any time: “You and your friends both have to turn on Nearby Friends and choose to share with each other to see when you’re nearby.”
Vaccari stated that Nearby Friends has the potential of becoming a helpful tool: “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.” In this context, it’s surely easier to gather up all your (nearby) friends and throw a party.
All in all, it seems that all social networks got the update fever lately, as Twitter pushed some new profiles (that are quite frankly terribly similar to Facebook’s) and chat-like pop-up notifications, Google+ brought view counts and Facebook now has this. It may be a coincidence that all of them decided to update their platforms basically at the same time, or it may be a strategy to make the social networks more popular at the beginning of the second quarter. If everything goes well and these new features are well-accepted by the users, it will definitely all be reflected in the earnings reports released in July.