It appears as if Facebook is borrowing a little idea from their rival, Google+. The social network announced today that they will soon begin broadcasting your location to your friends and family, with a new feature they’re calling “Nearby Friends.”Before you freak out, Facebook is doing its users a solid by making it opt-in only — we know how some of you value your privacy.
In order to take advantage of the new feature, you’ll need to enable the Nearby Friends option in the Facebook app, and because sharing goes both ways, you can’t keep it turned off and still expect to get notified when friends are near. Sorry, bubba. Because you’ve probably friended a good amount of acquaintances through the years, sharing can be custom tailored to specific lists you’ve set in Facebook, so you can choose to only share your location with family, or just your close friends.
In Google Now-like fashion, everything is done in the background, with a notification message pinging you on your device when friends are near. Crazy ex-gfs (or current significant others) aside, you can see how this could be helpful at meeting up with friends/ family when out and about. Maybe you’re running errands and feeling like grabbing a quick bite. You notice Sally and Joe are also out, hitting them up on Facebook Messenger to see if they’d like to meetup. How convenient.
Once enabled, Facebook users can choose to share a precise location with their friends and for a set period of time. This means instead of your friends just receiving an alert that you’re nearby with a rough approximation of your distance, they’ll know exactly where to find you, pinpointing your location on a map but again, only for the set period of time you choose.
When friends are traveling, you can also see city or general neighborhood they’re in. Facebook says that could be a great opportunity to recommend a place for them to eat, or in the case of a significant other, will give them ample time to throw your stuff out on the lawn should you get caught in your ex’s neck of the woods.
It’s definitely not going to be a feature for everyone, but for those that don’t mind putting their business out there when it comes to their close friends or family, it could be helpful. According to Facebook, the feature will go live in the Facebook app in the coming weeks, so be on the look out.