Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has created a mobile feature that lets users find friends who are nearby. The feature is called Friendshake and is accessible through the “find friends nearby” URL, “(https://m.facebook.com/friendshake)”.
This is a big step forward by Facebook toward enhancing its social platform in mobile devices, and most importantly it helps in meeting new people, rather than promoting connectivity with your current list of friends.
If people are nearby and are logged on to the page, they will see a drop down list that details other logged in users. The feature is available in both Android and iOS 6 mobile web. The news comes just two months after Facebook’s acquisition of Glancee, a mobile app that helps users discover people near them that have similar interests.
The founders of Glancee are reported to have ditched it to join Facebook, but it is unclear whether Facebook used the app to create its latest invention (Friendshake).
For the app to work, users must be logged into Facebook as well as the Friendshake URL; this enables users to view other logged in users from nearby, including both those that they know and total strangers (it is Facebook after-all), from whom, they can pick each other to connect. The purpose of the new feature is adding people who you meet at a specific event, for instance, at a party or bar.
Roger Pincombe a develop, was among the very first people to hear about the new feature. He states:
“Before, you would need to tell them your name, probably spell it for them, and then depending on how common your name is you’d have to tell them which of the results is actually you. This makes it 2 taps if you save a bookmark,” in reference to the new FB feature.
The original Facebook engineer, Ryan Patterson states (via Techcrunch):
I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake’, we settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of a homage to the previous iteration).
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. 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.
However, 9to5Mac notes that, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Find Friends Nearby functionality is very different from what Apple’s ‘Find My Friends’ app, stating that there is a third-party app that is similar, but uses Facebook integration. Find Friends Nearby is not supposed to track a user’s friends, but rather, make and add new ones.