Facebook Wants You To Find Friends On The Go With New Mobile Feature

UPDATE: Following a bit of a freak out over the new friend-finding feature, Facebook has already pulled it, claiming it wasn’t really supposed to be in wide release yet.

As a spokeswoman wrote in a statement to CNN:

“This wasn’t a formal release — this was something that a few engineers were testing,” the spokeswoman wrote. “With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t. Nothing more to say on this for now — we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say.”


It can be tricky to find the particular Joe Smith you just met at the bar while wading through all the many Joe Smiths out there. If you don’t want to wait until morning and try to puzzle it out (“He seems like he’d be from Iowa, right?”), Facebook’s new mobile feature allows users to see others who have the app open nearby. Gotcha, Joe.

The Find Friends Nearby uses your phone’s GPS to pick out who else around you has the feature open, using a mobile browser or Facebook’s iOS and Android apps.

It hasn’t really been announced yet, says TechCrunch, but you can find it by going to http://fb.com/ffn on your phone, or on your phone’s app, you’ll be able to go to the menu sidebar, scroll down to Find Friends, and touch Find Friends Nearby.

TechCruch says the feature was originally called Friendshake, and while Facebook hasn’t commented on it yet, a Facebook engineer who demonstrated it over the weekend at an event told those in attendance to spread the word.

The engineer also posted a comment on TechCrunch’s story about it, saying the feature was created as “hackathon” project.

“For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met and want to stay in contact with,” his comment said. “Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction.”

‘Find Friends Nearby’: Facebook’s New Mobile Feature For Finding People Around You [TechCrunch]




Edit Your Comment

  1. nugatory says:

    ummmmm no.

    How many people here would let facebook track your physical location?

    • LuzioFantazmic says:

      Oh Boy. There are so many mobile apps out there now that track your physical location, it’s probably safe to say that facebook’s current mobile app is already doing it. They’re now just going to let you use it to stalk, i mean find people close by.

      • edman007 says:

        I turned it on for google, the Latitude stats page is scary, it knows how long I spend home, it knows when and how long I go to work, my girlfriends, etc. It lists addresses I frequent (family memebers addresses, bars, stores, malls, etc). It knows how many flights I’ve been on, it even lists the locations and durations of my “trips” (it identifies cities far from home that I spent a few days at).

        And at the top of the page it says they have tracked me 38,401mi and that it’s only 187k mi more to the moon.


    • Laura Northrup says:

      I don’t even check in places on Facebook.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Only if you are a fool who still has Facebook.

  2. umbriago says:

    Oh, please, Facebook. Follow me everywhere!

    In all seriousness though, everything Facebook does drives home someone’s point that if you can’t tell what the product is, YOU are the product.

    • J-Purchase says:

      If you’re using a service that’s free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    I want an application that allows me to keep my location secret and not let everyone know where I am. For goodness sake, I don’t even know my neighbors name; why would I want strangers knowing who and where I am?

    • baltimoron says:

      Why not just turn off the GPS? It’ll save some battery too. I only ever turn my GPS on when I need it for directions in the car.

      • Craige says:

        That probably wouldn’t be enough to stop it. Cellphones guess your location based on 3 data inputs: GPS, Wifi, Cell Tower.

        Disabling the GPS would mean they can’t get a precise location on you, but they could still get close enough to this feature to be plausible/marketable.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      I’m wondering how an app like that will play out. If you want an app to block your whereabouts, then shouldn’t it know where you are in the first place? o_o

  4. finbar says:

    “That’s funny, my buddy sure visits my wife a lot when I’m at work…”

  5. phonic says:

    I don’t trust this. The Facebook app is horrible as it stands now, how about they worry about fixing it’s basic uses before adding new creepy ones?

  6. CrazyEyed says:

    Foresquare was on top of this a couple years ago and since inception, Google+ rolled out this feature on their mobile app least year. Sounds to me like the Facebook hackathon became a version of Apple’s, “Ok, who can we copy now.”

    Nearly everything we do now is tracked. When you perform a google search on your mobile device, it tracks your location to tailor your results. However, I don’t see much practicality out of meeting a complete stranger since the idea ran it’s course and died years ago on MySpace. If you want to meet a random person for some escapades, try AdultFriendFinder.

  7. 2 Replies says:


    We saw nearly the EXACT SAME reaction to “Check Ins”.
    The world isn’t ending, chicken littles.
    The ONLY way you have ANYTHING to worry about is if you’re irresponsible and don’t manage your page/content privacy.

  8. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    How can you find your friends when Facebook changed everyone’s email addy this morning?

  9. KillerBee says:
  10. evilpete says:

    Now if only Facebook would allow me to search my own wall for that posted like 18 months ago

  11. cyberpenguin says:

    I can’t find it now, but earlier there was an article on Google News that claimed Facebook pulled the feature after threat of a patent lawsuit.

    Supposedly, finding people near you was invented last year, patented, and locked up exclusively for 20 years.

  12. Blueskylaw says:

    So Facebook calls it a “hackathon” to make it sound like it was a
    secretarys or coders idea when it’s actually part of Suckerbergs evil plan.

  13. chiieddy says:

    FB cancelled this. It’s no longer available.

  14. scantron says:

    >”Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction.”

    Wait… is he calling my normal email address a “vanity” address like a vanity license plate?