Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ is Tracking Everyone in Real Time

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Nearby Friends (NF) is a new app provided by Facebook that will assist users in tracking their friend’s movements in real time and in real life.

Andrea Vaccari, lead designer said: “Sharing your location with Nearby Friends goes two ways — you and your friends both have to turn on Nearby Friends and choose to share with each other to see when you’re nearby. Your friends will only be able to see that you’re nearby if you share this info with them and vice versa.”

Vaccari continued: “If you turn on Nearby Friends, you can also choose to share a precise location with the particular friends you choose for a set period of time, such as the next hour. When you share your precise location, the friend you choose will see exactly where you are on a map, which helps you find each other. Then you can meet up and spend time together.”

NF will provide a ping to the user when one of their Facebook friends are in the vicinity.

While friends can opt out of being tracked with NF, as long as Facebook users continue to share their location, this app will have plenty of information in real time to assist in monitoring movements of people through Facebook.

And this includes Facebook friends overseas and across the globe. In fact, if anyone on a friends list is within half a mile from the user, they are being tracked with NF.

Through mapping apps anyone can decipher the exact location, detailed movements and intended destination of those they are tracking.

For convenience, Facebook automatically begins tracking friends of NF users as soon as they sign into Facebook. Past locations can be deleted by the user; however, Facebook retains that information in their databases.

Vaccari explained: “When Nearby Friends is on, you can see when your friends are traveling if they’re also using this feature and sharing with you. You’ll be able to see the city or neighborhood they are in, including on their profile. When you see a friend visiting a place you’ve been, it’s the perfect opportunity to send a recommendation for a great restaurant. You can also make last-minute plans to meet up with a friend who happens to be in the same place you’re headed to.”

Google’s Latitude and Foursquare are similar tracking apps.