New Facebook feature let’s you “Find Friends Nearby”

June 25, 2012
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Facebook and the advent of the smartphone have completely changed the way we communicate with friends.

Party invites, and in extreme cases, even regular hangouts with friends are organized through Facebook events. “Remembering” birthdays has never been easier thanks to Facebook’s reminders. We now know exactly what everyone is up to, whether they are close friends or that persistent relative who just wouldn’t get the hint when you ignored their “friend request” the first ten times. How many of us contact friends, even those living in the same city, using Whatsapp, Viber, Gtalk, etc.?

It looks like Facebook, which has been incredibly helpful at keeping in touch with old friends, is now trying to help you make some new ones as well.

Initially called “Friendshake,” Facebook has silently slipped in a new feature on its website and mobile applications, called “Find Friends Nearby.” The feature, which hasn’t been officially announced yet, works like this:

  • You have to be logged onto Facebook. You can then open the Find Friends Nearby page.
  • The page will list other users who have the page open and are nearby (using geolocation services).
  • If you want to add people, you can do so easily by asking them to open the page as well. Their names will then show up on your page as well, from where you can “Add as Friend.”
  • The feature will not only list your friends that are nearby, but also people you do not know, as long as they have the feature open as well.

You can also access the feature straight from your native mobile app by going to Menu – Apps – Find Friends – Other Tools – Find Friends Nearby. As you can see from the screenshot above, the feature loads perfectly, but very few results show up for now. Granted, this is likely because not many people know about the feature yet or maybe because it was 5AM.

Without an official announcement, we have no way of knowing what the applications of this feature will entail. This could be a great way for someone to meet others with similar interests, and a quick and easy way to expand your social circle. But let’s be honest, this could turn creepy really quickly. The new Finds Friends Nearby will probably require Facebook to come up with a whole new set of user-enabled privacy settings, before officially announcing it.

What are your thoughts? How helpful do you think the “Find Friends Nearby” feature will be? Is this feature going to open up another debate about privacy concerns? Let us know in the comments section below.

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