Facebook is coming out with a new geo-locating feature that lets you know which friends are located nearest to you. This could accomplish two things.
1) You can find your friends more easily and go hang out with them.
2) It will confirm your worst fears about everyone hanging out without you.
Before anyone starts to panic, it should be noted that this is an opt-in feature that must be enabled by both parties. The theory is that by knowing which friends are closest to you at any given time, Facebook makes it easier for you to connect with them in real life.
Here’s a great primer from The Next Web on how the feature works, and the ways it can be useful. Other than the obvious uses for telling friends to meet up for drinks or a movie, it could come in particularly handy at airports, where you could potentially meet up with someone you know to share a cab.
For now, the initial level of location sharing doesn’t show exact locations, the most accurate it gets is with neighborhoods. However, users will have the option to turn on and share their exact street location, and also decide how long they want it to be available.
Now that Facebook has its own geo-locating service, it’s interesting to note what this means for its integration with Foursquare check-ins. Ostensibly that feature will still remain as people use it to highlight the businesses they are frequenting publicly, while the Facebook Nearby Friends feature is more for privately making plans. For now, Foursquare still has a role to play, and currently may be the only way brands have an in with this new feature.
Here’s the video from Facebook introducing Nearby Friends: