Facebook, apparently run by people not good at seeing the downsides to certain ideas, is working on an app that would let you find your friends… in real life!
You’d think the problems inherent in this idea would be staggeringly obvious, but Facebook really doubled down on this one:
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. Facebook is adding features to help it profit from the surging portion of its more than 1 billion users who access the service via handheld devices. The tracking app could help Facebook sell ads based on users’ whereabouts and daily habits.
Our sarcasm is not theoretical, we know this is going to backfire because Google attempted precisely the same thing with Google Buzz, which hooked up abusive exes back up with their would-be targets, among other massive problems.
It’s pretty clear that Facebook is concerned about sites like Foursquare, and for good reason. Foursquare is actively turning into a threat to Facebook’s social media dominance, and might soon be putting a bullet in Yelp.
At the same time, it’s not like there’s a paucity of apps that do this. None of them are all that popular because they suck your phone’s battery dry, and most people are terrified about the privacy implications.
But this is Facebook! Facebook don’t care, they’ll just stone-cold make this a required update to your mobile app and then go “Whatcha gonna do, go to Twitter?!” when users complain. They’ll be introducing this at South By Southwest.
We kinda can’t wait.