Posted on April 18, 2014 at 8:35 AM
Friday, Apr 18 at 10:40 AM
What if you could use that network of friends you've created online... to build relationships offline?
Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature called "Nearby Friends" with the goal of connecting your online and offline worlds.
Catching a show at The Paramount? Find out which of your friends may be in the vicinity and meet up for a post-theatre drink. Delayed at the airport? Wouldn't it be great to find out if you know anyone stuck there as well?
The service is not aimed at your closest of friends -- those you're most likely to already have made plans with.
The Facebook mobile app feature will tell you when you are near those in your network. It's optional (and fortunately, off by default) so you won't be sharing your location unless you opt-in.
The social network is rolling out the upgrade to users most likely to appreciate it first -- i.e. those, such as myself, who can't walk in the door without "checking in." Others will see it soon.
Other services have offered location-based services, Foursquare being among the most popular. Facebook, with a large user base, will benefit from an economy of scale of sorts. This, of course, assumes users elect to enable "Nearby Friends."