April 25, 2014

Social networking giant Facebook has never been the one to rest on past laurels. New features and improvements are a frequent part of the offerings on the website. Among the latest addition to the Facebook stable is a new feature called ‘friends nearby feature’.

What is “Friends Nearby Feature”:

  • This feature works by letting you know how far away you are from your friends in a particular location. This information can be shared for a limited period of time, but will definitely allow people to spend more time with one another in the ‘real’ world than they do ‘online’.
  • The ‘friends nearby feature’ was developed by an app team that Facebook acquired in the year 2012. The feature displays a list of nearby friends on all Facebook applications that work on IOS or Android systems. Moreover, if one of your friends has shared his exact location on Facebook and is very close to where you are, it will also display a map for the same.
  • The development of this new feature is primarily aimed at answering critics who believe that the social networking giant is isolating people from one another in the real world. By sharing the nearby locations, people can actually meet up with their friends for a hangout or dinner, thus validating Facebook’s basic premise which is to connect people.
  • Though certain privacy issues float around this feature, if people can manage those effectively, then there is bound to be room for plenty of meetings and hangouts with those who are close to them. For this, the Facebook apps on Android and IOS systems allow you to turn on the feature for a specific group of friends or everybody on your friend list. The choice is entirely yours.
  • Once you have decided on the list, the next step is to tap the ‘location’ icon next to the name of your friend. This will allow you to share your exact location with them. You can also key in a 40-character message stating what you are doing or that you intend to catch up.
  • If your friend is also using this feature, you can expect a response and hence plan your meeting. The feature also allows you the option of deciding on how much time you want to share your location with your friends.

What sets this latest offering from Facebook apart from others in the market is that it is based on broadcast proximity than location. This implies that you can share how close you are to someone without sharing the exact details. The feature will work through GPS on your mobile device and can be a great way to get back in touch with the people who matter in your life.