Looking for a new way to
stalk find your nearby Facebook friends? According to Bloomberg, a new Facebook app is being finalized that will allow users to see the location of their Facebook friends nearby. Using GPS, the app would allow users to show or view exact location detail when shared with a friend.
This functionality is very similar to the Google Latitude product & Apple’s Find My Friends app. Both of these applications drew heavy criticism for the potential privacy issues that can arise from broadcasting one’s location. Most of the concerns occur not with the product itself, but rather with the ability for someone to steal a phone or hack an account unbeknownst to the user.
Facebook will see far more pushback from a privacy angle due to the fact that they are first and foremost a social network. Unlike the non-social Google in 2009 (when Latitude Launched), Facebook is all about connections. They’ll have to be quite careful with the implementation of this or the new app could quite frankly become dangerous.
With this new functionality Facebook would become a one-stop shop for perpetrators to learn about someone and track their every movement. While it can be helpful in many situations, I’d imagine that most users wouldn’t choose to partake. Additionally, Facebook is putting themselves at risk. If there is an error (it happens), they could potentially display location settings for all of their users — both a criminal’s and a lawyer’s dream.
The biggest upside for this app is the advertising implication. If this app is highly adopted, there will be a new revenue source for local advertisers. Another interesting piece is just how this will help Facebook compete with Foursquare. Facebook check-ins have been adequate, but the adoption has been much slower than that of Foursquare. If Facebook creates a real-time tracking tool that people use, they may have an offering that Foursquare doesn’t.
The app will reportedly be released in mid-March. For more information see Bloomberg.