Apple introduced its “Find My Friends” application in late 2011 with iOS 5, allowing iOS users to track their friends in real time, and display their own location using the GPS on their device. Now it seems that Facebook has something similiar in mind.
According to Bloomberg, the social networking giant is working on a location based app similiar to “Find My Friends” which would allow users to automatically share their location with their Facebook friends. The application would run in the background so it can consistently update the location of the user and friends of the user.
The app, scheduled for release by mid-March, is designed to help users find nearby friends and would run even when the program isn’t open on a handset, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.
The team developing Facebook’s location software is being led by Peter Deng, a product director who joined from Google in 2007, one person said. The group also includes engineers from Glancee, a location-tracking startup Facebook acquired in May, and Gowalla, a location-based social network whose assets were purchased in December 2011, the person said.
Although Apple was the first to introduce an app with this technology, it seems more practical for Facebook who would have a existing and significantly larger user base. The social networking site could also use the locations of its users to further understand a person’s likes and dislikes, which can be used for advertising purposes.
Facebook will likely give users the option to turn off their feature if they wish, as they have done with their Photo Sync feature. It is unclear how many users would feel comfortable having Facebook automatically upload their location, let alone use it for ad purposes.