It knows when you’ve been sleeping, it knows when you’re awake….and now Facebook is going to know where you are- and so are your Facebook friends, all thanks to Facebook’s newly designed “Nearby Friends” feature.
While Facebook’s current Nearby Friends feature allows users to share their general location with their friends, most users do not have it turned on. After all, there is little benefit to using one’s smartphone as a tracking beacon.
Taking a cue from Snapchat’s Snap Map, which uses geotagging to show you where your friends have checked in at or posted a story from, Facebook’s recently redesigned Nearby Friends feature will show a similar map. For example, if your friend checked in at the recording studio, you’ll see his general location on a map of your city. If your friend checked in at a restaurant, you’ll also see her location. If a friend checks in at home….well, it will go on the map as well. However, Facebook has noted that you still can only see a friend’s approximate location in a neighborhood or city, not their exact address or coordinates.
While Facebook claims that the feature is meant to promote “real-life” engagement with friends and family, a recent TechCrunch article notes that there may be another less noble reason behind the “improved” Nearby Friends feature- getting more people to share their real-time location could open new opportunities for local ad targeting.
Whether or not users will have to opt-in or opt-out of the feature is still unclear as the company’s statements have been a bit ambiguous. For now, the feature is still in testing phase. There’s no official date for the feature’s launch, but it is rumored to be rolled out in the next few months.