Facebook launched a new feature this week called Nearby Friends, which allows users to share their location and find out whether Facebook friends are within real-life hangout distance. If you're in Times Square, for instance, you can use Nearby Friends to see if anyone is around to catch a movie.
So basically: it's just Tinder without the sex? Like the GPS-matching criteria on Tinder, Nearby Friends only works when both parties have opted in; you and your friends both have to turn the feature on in order to see each others' locations.
Andrea Vaccari, product manager at Facebook, was quick to point out in his press release that the feature is strictly optional, an emphasis that likely stems from ongoing concerns over the company's handling of privacy issues.
As Vaccari also points out, the feature can be particularly useful for those who travel, allowing people to make last-minute plans to meet up, and getting recommendations from friends who have been to the same place.
One immediate drawback: mutual Nearby Friends opt-in would destroy the possibility of saying "I'm on my way!" when you haven't left your apartment or changed out of your pajamas. Looks like we'll have to start coming up with more inventive excuses for running late.
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.