Facebook is testing a feature called Find Friends Nearby, a mobile app that allows users to view friends and other Facebook users in nearby locations.
[UPDATE: Facebook has apparently pulled the mobile site for this feature.]
The app's purpose is to find new connections in a faster way than by typing in someone's name in the search bar and flipping through a long list. For example, if you met "John Smith" at a work event and searched for his name in the Facebook app, pages of results would appear. But if you were to use the Find Friends Nearby app, only a list of people in a close proximity would be listed; the right John Smith becomes much easier to find. It appears that a user's exact whereabouts are not revealed by Find Friends Nearby URL, since there is no map or address listed.
After first logging in on Facebook, users may then launch the app by clicking on this link. Friends and strangers who are accessing Find Friends Nearby will appear in a list, with an "Add Friend" button beside their name. This new feature is available on iOS and Android platforms, as well as on the mobile web, according to CNET.
(Note: The Find Friends Nearby webpage appeared to be down after midday on Monday.)
The launch of this new feature comes nearly two months after Facebook's purchase of location-based app Glancee.
TechCrunch reported the Facebook engineer behind this product, Ryan Patterson, originally conceived of this app as part of a hackathon project. At the time, the app was called "Friendshake." The name then changed to Find Friends Nearby, though the phrase 'friendshake' can still currently be found in the app's mobile web URL.
"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," Patterson explained to TechCrunch.
The app has kicked up a controversy with its debut. The Huffington Post on Monday received a statement from Charles Sankowich, CEO of friend-locating app Friendthem. Alleging that Facebook ripped off his product to create a Facebook-branded friend finder, Charles Sankowich said the following:
I was amazed on Sunday to read that Facebook is blatantly stealing our idea with what they are calling, “Find Friends Nearby.” Facebook engineer Ryan Patterson claims the feature was born at a hackathon as "Friendshake," but we believe they simply stole trademarked materials of Friendthem.com.
More than two years ago we trademarked “Friendthem” and have had tremendous success and exposure with this concept.
Sankowich believes that Find Friends Nearby even stole the language of his app. He and his team are consulting attorneys with the expectation to begin a lawsuit in the near future.
A Facebook rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, CNET did obtain a statement from a spokesperson for the social network:
"We are constantly testing new features but have nothing more to share at this time."
Besides the friend-locating battle of the apps, other worries cross our minds with this new Facebook feature. Could this product be invasive, spurring on an influx of unwanted Facebook friend requests when you're out at a bar or in a heavily populated location?
What do you think about Find Friends Nearby? Is this a feature you would use? Let you know in the comments section below or tweet us at @HuffPostTech.
With the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Spotify" target="_hplink">Spotify</a> timeline app, music fans can add music to their timeline as they listen, and discover new songs from friends along the way.
Are you crazy about pinning? Bring your pins, repins and boards to your timeline. Since launching their timeline app, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pinterest" target="_hplink">Pinterest</a> saw the number of people visiting the site from Facebook increase by more than 60 percent. To get started, go to Pinterest.com, sign in with Facebook, and add Pinterest to your timeline.
With the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Foodspotting" target="_hplink">Foodspotting</a> timeline app, foodies can snap photos of the food they spot, love, try, and want. Since launching its timeline app in January, Foodspotting has multiplied its monthly active user base by two.
People can now add their <a href="https://www.facebook.com/foursquare" target="_hplink">Foursquare</a> check-ins to their timelines and maps, share their badges and see the top places they've checked into.
Login to Vevo.com with Facebook, or the Vevo mobile app, to get music video recommendations and add the videos you watch to your timeline. Since launching their timeline app, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/VEVO" target="_hplink">VEVO</a> has seen a 45 percent increase in traffic from Facebook's mobile app to their own, compared to just a few months ago.
If your favorite bands have a Band Page on Facebook (and they probably do, as more than half a million musicians have one), you can mark your favorite songs, as well as the concerts you plan on attending and would like to attend, to fill out the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/rootmusic" target="_hplink">RootMusic</a> app on your timeline.
Bring the book club to your timeline. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Goodreads" target="_hplink">Goodreads</a> gives you an easy way to add the books you're reading, or want to read, to your timeline, and discover what friends are reading as well. Over time, the Goodreads app will surface the number of books you've read in a certain period of time and your top authors. Since launching the timeline app, Goodreads has grown its audience by 90 percent.
<a href="http://viddy.com/" target="_hplink">Viddy</a>, the mobile app for creating quick videos and adding filters, now lets people add clips to their timelines as they shoot. Now when people film videos from a vacation or everyday life, they can share them to Facebook and collect their clips on the Viddy timeline app. Since launching their timeline app just a few weeks ago, Viddy went from 100,000 monthly uniques to more than 790,000. They are averaging 50,000 sign-ups per day and are among the most popular apps in the Apple App Store.
DJs, wannabe DJs and music lovers can add the songs they've "awesome'd" directly to their timeline with the <a href="http://turntable.fm/" target="_hplink">Turntable</a> app.
If you love shopping, you can bring <a href="https://www.facebook.com/fab.com" target="_hplink">Fab.com</a> to your timeline to share your favorite purchases. Fifty percent of Fab's visits come from Facebook.
Need more encouragement to finish that run, or looking for more routes to hike? Turn your phone into your personal trainer. The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/endomondo" target="_hplink">Endomondo</a> app on your phone to track your workouts, and lets you login with Facebook to add your activity to your timeline.
With <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/" target="_hplink">TripAdvsior</a>, travelers can build out a map of the places they've been and want to go and pin cities along the way to their timeline. Over time, they can see data on their travels, such as the percentage of the world seen, and total distance traveled.
For the fashionistas out there, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/connect/uiserver.php?app_id=164118886949520&method=permissions.request&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fpose-app%2F?ref%3Dts&response_type=none&display=page&perms=offline_access%2Cemail%2Cpublish_stream%2Cpublish_actions%2Cuser_photos&auth_referral=1" target="_hplink">Pose</a> makes it possible to bring your favorite outfits (whether you're wearing them or not) to your timeline. Since launching the timeline app, Pose has seen daily sign-ups increase by five times. Celebs like Rachel Zoe are <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150644319103553&set=a.10150509371338553.372053.19292868552&type=3&theater" target="_hplink">adding their outfits to timeline</a> with the app.
Last month the e-commerce site <a href="https://www.facebook.com/connect/uiserver.php?app_id=230486256138&method=permissions.request&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fsneakpeeq%2F?ref%3Dts&response_type=none&display=page&perms=email%2Cpublish_actions&auth_referral=1" target="_hplink">Sneakpeeq</a> raised $2.7 million for its simple yet innovative approach to making online shopping feel like it does in the real world. You can add Sneakpeeq to your timeline and share the artists, designers, products, and sales you discover with your friends.
Everyone's favorite satirical news source, <a href="http://www.theonion.com/" target="_hplink">The Onion</a>, recently launched a timeline app so people can add the funny stories they read (such as "Study Finds Newborn Infants Can Tell If Parents Are Losers") and the videos they watch, to their timeline.
The <a href="http://www.fandango.com/" target="_hplink">Fandango</a> app lets you add the movies you want to see to your timeline, as well as the clips you watch and movies you rate. Now that Fandango can be on your timeline, you have another way to express your love of "The Hunger Games."
The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/connect/uiserver.php?app_id=172689716102069&method=permissions.request&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Fartfinder%2F?ref%3Dts&response_type=none&display=page&perms=email%2Cpublish_actions&auth_referral=1" target="_hplink">Artfinder</a> app lets you snap photos of artwork from your phone and begin curating your own masterpiece on your timeline. Since Artfinder launched a timeline app, people have spent 60 percent more time with the service.
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