Have you ever stared at your phone, cursing its inability to pinpoint your exact location and broadcast it to your large group of friends on a popular social network? Probably not — there are apps for that, Foursquare being one that pops to mind — but if you did, Facebook has a solution. The company is reportedly working on its own location-tracking app so your friends will be able to see where you go, when you go and who you’re with. Whew.
Bloomberg News cites some behind-the-scenes people who say the company is developing the smartphone app and it will be released by mid-March. It’ll help users find friends nearby, and will run even when you don’t have the program open.
So even when you aren’t telling the app, “Hey, track me!” it will know. Oh, it will know.
This isn’t much of a surprise, as Facebook has said in the past that it’s gotta come up with more mobile offerings to keep up with the growing mobile market and always insistent demands from investors to generate revenue.
CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg touched on this recently on a phone call with analysts:
“A lot of what we had to do last year was simply to improve our mobile development process,” Zuckerberg said. “The next thing we’re going to do is get really good at building new mobile-first experiences.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Facebook impedes Foursquare’s ability to share on its network, somewhat like it did with Instagram to Twitter sharing.
Another challenge for Facebook with this tracking app is privacy. It’s likely that the company wants to sell ads to users based on where they go and who they’re there with, which means handling their personal information.
Bloomberg points out that if you’re using Facebook now, maybe you’ve already agreed to let this software track you, sneakily and in the background of Apple’s iOS. The network’s data-use police says Facebook can use info on location “to tell you and your friends about people or events nearby, or offer deals to you that you might be interested in.”
“When we get your GPS location, we put it together with other location information we have about you (like your current city),” the data use policy reads. “But we only keep it until it is no longer useful to provide you services, like keeping your last GPS coordinates to send you relevant notifications.”
On your toes, Facebook. We don’t want to have to threaten to quit you yet again.
Facebook Is Said to Create Mobile Location-Tracking App [Bloomberg News]