Facebook’s most recent updates to its user interface have focused specifically on letting your Facebook friends know where you are or where you are going to be. First, Facebook started with the launch of their “traveling to” feature, which allows users to mark where they are traveling to so that all of their Facebook friends can see. Though right now, the feature simply allows for an accompanying emoji, some news sources believe that Facebook will eventually use this to alter the interface of your Facebook when you are in a different city. For instance, if you marked that you were going to New York, your News Feed might be more focused on the posts of your friends in New York. Facebook has not made any announcements like this just yet, but it does seem like the next logical step.
In addition to the “traveling to” feature, Facebook’s next big update has been with the “Nearby Friends” feature. This feature ties in with the fact that most Facebook users are connecting through their mobile phone app, and smartphones these days are generally connected to GPS. Facebook has decided to merge these two concepts into the “Nearby Friends” feature, which — if you choose — will allow your Facebook friends to see where you are at all times.
The Nearby Friends feature is not turned on by default, so those who want to protect their privacy (or otherwise don’t want their Facebook friends to know where they are) can refrain from using the new feature. Facebook users can choose whether they want to share their general location with all of their Facebook friends, close friends, or a specific list of people. Your location can only be shared with other users who have opted in to the Nearby Friends feature who have also chosen to share their location with you.
Facebook users can be alerted when their friends are nearby, which happens in real-time, to differentiate it from the manual check-in feature that was already available with Facebook. There is even a precise location function that allows you and a specific friend to view each other’s exact map locations for a certain period of time, which can be used to help find a friend in a crowd or if you’re both trying to navigate a city’s streets to find one another. This isn’t the first time a feature like this has been included with a social network, as similar functions have been available with Google Latitude and Foursquare. However, Facebook is well-known for constantly finding new ways for their users to connect, so there is a lot of potential available with the Nearby Friends feature.