Facebook quietly introduced a new feature which uses GPS signal in modern phones to help you find friends and potential new friends nearby. It was designed for phones that will allow you to see your friends who are close by like the same office, bar, restaurant you are in.
The feature was short-lived and was pulled by Facebook as it started attention. Many blogging sites and news sites described it as a ‘stalking app’.
Facebook now claims that it is just for a test purpose.
“This wasn’t a formal release — this was just something that a few engineers were testing, a spokesperson told Wired magazine. With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t. Nothing more to say on this for now, but we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say.”
Glancee, was a mobile app which lets you search friends with the same interests as you are nearby, was acquired by Facebook last month. This pretty much seems the direction Facebook is aiming for. But sadly, it resulted into a failure.
It is originally intended to be a one-touch friendship. It means that you could just add a person easily than finding his/her name manually and confirming it if it is them.
Others see this feature on a positive not as it will provide easy connections with new acquaintances but others see this as an invasion of privacy and a way for unwanted people to get you attention.
This feature can be activated manually by just going to http://www.fb.com/ffn. However this site was already been deactivated – atleast temporarily.
“I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake,’ we settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of a homage to the previous iteration). For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met and want to stay in contact with Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction.” Said Ryan Patterson, Facebook engineer.