June 26, 2012
Facebook Looks To Find Friends
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com
Finding friends on Facebook may have a new twist. While the idea of “friending” someone is nothing new, Facebook users can now find new friends not online but in the real world through the Find Friends Nearby feature.
The social network, which could use a friend in the stock markets and has seen its stock actually slide since its mid-May IPO, continues to look to increase its mobile offerings. The latest, which was reported by TechCrunch on Monday, includes a new feature that works using a mobile handset´s GPS functionality. This reportedly speeds the process of adding friends you´ve made in the real world.
The new feature lets users find friends and even “potential friends” nearby. Dubbed the “Friendshake” it is accessible via a browser based version, which features the URL fb.com/ffn — or “find friends nearby,” this is another step that furthers Facebook´s efforts into the mobile space. It also allows users to meet new people instead of merely building up the connectivity with existing friends.
It is available on mobile via the mobile web and accessible via Facebook´s own mobile apps. What is also unique about this is that it comes just months after Facebook acquired Glancee, a mobile app that allows users to discover people near them who had similar interests. While buying the company Facebook apparently made new friends in the process, and the three founders of Glancee joined the company, and closed down their own app.
TechCrunch noted that “it is not clear if Friendshake has been created out of that acquisition, or if it has been developed along an altogether different thread — or how the functions of the two may eventually dovetail.”
What is also interesting about Friendshake is that it does not actually show all of your friends nearby either. Instead it only shows those who have given Facebook permission to use their location. Users then have to log onto a specific page — say for a trade show, convention or conference. Those who have allowed their location to be revealed and apparently noted that they´d be at the same event, will be revealed.
Facebook hasn´t made it clear how close someone needs to be to be considered “nearby” but this tool could have more business users than say just meet ups or hook ups. And the fact that users need to opt in should set to ease privacy concerns, which continue to be an issue Facebook has faced off with time and time again.
Find Friends Nearby as the service is now being called — hence the aforementioned URL — was demonstrated this past weekend at an event in San Francisco by one of the company´s engineers who was responsible for its development. That engineer Ryan Patterson reportedly urged attendees to spread the news.
It will be interesting to see how Find Friends Nearby will catch on, especially as it sort of reinvents past location-based features, notably Check-in Feature, which allowed contacts to see who visited the same place and who had checked into certain effects.
However, efforts like this could also be Facebook´s attempt to turn around what can only be described as bad way to start the summer. Shares of the social network giant fell from the $38 launch price, with the IPO being described as one of the worst in decades.