Facebook rolls out location-sharing feature
Unlike with other features, Facebook isn’t forcing people to use Nearby Friends. Therefore, there is a possibility it won’t catch on widely.
Vaccari is optimistic that it will.
Vaccari joined Facebook in 2012, when the company acquired Glancee, his startup service for meeting nearby people who have friends and interests in common. He has been working on the new feature since then.
Facebook employees have been testing Nearby Friends, and Vaccari cites ways it has helped people get together:
- When two people landed at the airport at the same time from different flights, they saw that they did through Nearby Friends and shared a ride home together.
- When two people were out shopping alone in San Francisco, they joined forces after seeing each other nearby.
Nearby Friends, Vaccari said, isn’t for the five to 10 close friends whom you feel comfortable texting or calling up to hang out. Rather, he said, it’s for the broader group of friends you enjoy spending time with but wouldn’t necessarily call. Nearby Friends may provide that extra push. Users can limit whom they share their location with to smaller groups of friends.
Users who sign up will be shown a short tutorial on how the feature works. Besides seeing friends who are nearby, users can also see which of their friends are traveling, and in general which friends are using the feature even if they are not nearby.
Facebook says there are no current plans to draw advertising revenue from Nearby Friends. The company says it does not currently target ads to users based on where they happen to be at the moment, but uses their stated “current city” and the location of their computer based on its numeric Internet Protocol address. AP