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Facebook’s “Nearby Friends” Feature Notifies You When Friends Are Around

Similar to Apple’s Find My Friends app, Nearby Friends can notify users if friends are close by. Facebook stresses the feature is optional.

Facebook is rolling out a feature to help users find and connect with online friends in real life.

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Similar to Apple’s Find My Friends app, Facebook’s Nearby Friends can notify users if people they’re connected to on the social network are close by. To address privacy concerns, the social network emphasizes that the feature is entirely optional and requires both parties to opt in. In addition to specifying which friends to receive pings from, users can activate and deactivate Nearby Friends when they want, or set time limits for when to share their locations.

Though the feature will help facilitate friends meeting up, Nearby Friends could also help ramp up recommendations on the social network. “When you see a friend visiting a place you’ve been, it’s the perfect opportunity to send a recommendation for a great restaurant,” wrote product manager Andrea Vaccari in a blog post.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, recently started testing integration with Facebook Places, signaling it will likely discontinue integration with check-in app Foursquare.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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