Facebook quietly introduced a new service over the weekend called Find Friends Nearby, which connects you with other Facebook subscribers who are in close geographic proximity. The service is activated when a logged-in Facebook user visits the Find Friends page on their mobile device. The app uses GPS data to pinpoint your location and lists all other Facebook/Find Friend users in the vicinity, on or off your friend lists. Just based on how it’s set up, the feature is opt-in only, restricted to users who seek out the Find Friends Nearby page on the web, or via the Facebook iOS or Android mobile app. Leave the page and you disappear from others’ lists. And only public details are visible via the service–people still need to send you a friend request to see your full profile.
Facebook developer Ryan Patterson created the app (originally called “Friendshake”) during a hackathon, he wrote in the comments section at TechCrunch where the app was first reported. “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,” Patterson explained.