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Facebook already allows you to check in on the mobile app, but now the social network will now notify you if a friend is at a nearby location. This may spark privacy concerns, but the company has stressed that it is an opt-in feature that must be activated in order to use.
The feature began rolling out today. It is intended to help you meet up with your friends who are also using the app.
“Sharing your location with Nearby Friends goes two ways — you and your friends both have to turn on Nearby Friends and choose to share with each other to see when you’re nearby,” Facebook said in a statement. “Your friends will only be able to see that you’re nearby if you share this info with them and vice versa.”
TechCrunch reports that the feature was developed by Glancee, a group Facebook acquired in 2012. It works by using your GPS location, so you won't even have to check in.
The feature will show a list of your friends near your location and will sent you a notification when one arrives in the area. If they check in, their location will be shown on a map.
Nearby Friends will be available for both the iOS and Android Facebook apps nationwide in the coming weeks.
Of course, this should make Foursquare nervous, as the feature does just about the same thing that it does. Although, Facebook didn’t say anything about awarding badges for checking in, so Foursquare still has that.