Facebook's mantra of sharing at long distance is going to morph into an up close and personal experience where you really reach out and touch someone.
The world's most popular social network will soon introduce an app called "Nearby Friends," that allows a Facebook user to see which of his friends are close by. A user can even share his exact location with his Facebook friends.
Nearby Friends uses the "geolocation technology" built into a smartphone to determine when a user is close to one of his Facebook friends. It sends periodic notifications alerting a user to nearby friends. Nearby Friends allows a user to broadcast his general location to Facebook friends without posting at all.
Those of you who don't want to be automatically geolocated will be happy to know that Nearby Friends is an opt-in, meaning you'll need to manually activate the app to use it. Nearby Friends doesn't turn on automatically. Once Nearby Friends is activated, a user has to go through an easy tutorial that explains how to use the feature.
A user can select the groups on Facebook with which he want to share his location. He can only share it with friends or other groups that he's created like "close friends" or "family." A user can't share his location with the public or with friends of friends.
He won't be able to see a friend's exact location neither will the exact coordinates be shared automatically. Facebook will notify you when friends are nearby, at which point you can message those friends if you want to connect.
Users who don't activate Nearby Friends won't share with or receive any location information from his Facebook friends.
Andrea Vaccari, product manager for Nearby Friends said the mission of Facebook is to connect people, to bring people together. "Nearby Friends sort of pushes that forward by making it a little easier to find new opportunities to meet your friends while you're out and about."
"If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," Facebook said in a blog post. "For example, when you're headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward."