Facebook today launched Nearby Friends, a new option in the company’s main app for Android and iOS rolling out “over the coming weeks” in the US. The feature lets you see which friends are close to you, assuming that both you and the other party have enabled the functionality first.
Before we dig in, it’s important to note where in the Facebook app you can access Nearby Friends. You’ll have to tap the “More” icon in the bottom-right corner, and hit “Nearby Friends” located just above “Nearby Places.” If you have already turned the feature on, you can also access it by opening the friends menu by swiping from the right, and you may also see a News Feed story showing you a list of friends nearby.
Opt-in for both parties
When we talked to Facebook product manager Andrea Vaccari, he made a point to emphasize that the feature was entirely optional. Not only is it off by default, but even if you turn it on, you have to still choose what group of friends to share your location with (Friends, Close Friends, or a specific friends list you’ve curated – “Public” and “Friends of Friends” are not available options). On top of that, you and your friend both have to have the feature turned on, and explicitly be sharing with each other, to see each other’s proximity.
We say “proximity” because Vaccari used the terminology to emphasize what you see once you’ve flipped the switch: the feature shows “not where they are, but whether they are close.” Notice in the right-hand screenshot below that Vaccari’s friends are listed by distance. Where they actually are, aside from “Near San Francisco, CA” and “Near Menlo Park, CA” is not shown.
This is in the “Nearby” section but the next two are also interesting: Traveling shows you who is on the go and Elsewhere shows you which of your friends are in a different part of the world. If a friend is far from you, you’ll get less specific information (like the city or country). If they are closer, you may see more (like the neighborhood). Read More News>>