Most of us use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and loved ones and reconnect with people from years gone by. However, it seems Facebook is now looking to help us make some geographically convenient new friends.
This past weekend, Facebook surprised users with the quiet launch of a new feature called Find Friends Nearby. Designed to help you find people on Facebook in or around your location, the feature was available both via the Web as well as via Facebook's mobile applications and was first spotted by TechCrunch. It works like this: You log into Facebook and the FFN URL (www.fb.com/ffn). There you'll see other users who are logged into Facebook and have the Find Friends Nearby page open. The idea is that people will use it to connect with multiple people after meeting new people at an event.
Though the feature is no longer available for just anyone to use, one Facebook engineer wrote to TechCrunch to confirm some details about this new location-based tool and explain how he envisions people will use it.
"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)," writes Facebook's Ryan Patterson. "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."
No word on when this feature will be officially launched (it seems the fb.com/ffn URL isn't working anymore, nor is facebook.com/friendshake) or if Facebook will have any other security features beyond requiring users to have Find Friends Nearby page open. We'll keep you posted on this one!