Keep an eye out for your pals with Facebook's new Nearby Friends feature

Keep an eye out for your pals Facebook's new Nearby Friends feature
Nearby Friends... for those 'fancy a pint?' moments

Facebook has risked opening up another can of wriggly privacy worms by introducing a new feature which allows users to see which of their pals are nearby.

The strictly opt-in Friends Nearby feature will begin rolling out to the firm's iOS and Android apps in the coming weeks, sending users occasional notifications informing them who is close by or on the move.

Facebook says the feature may come in handy for those wishing to meet up with pals when they spot them in the area and help them coordinate for concerts, movies and the like.

Those opting in will be able to choose which of their pre-selected friendship groups are able to see their location and will be able to switch Nearby Friends off at any time.

Two way street

The feature, which is similar to the Find My Friends tool in iOS, also works the other way, allowing people to track when their friends are out of town, including which city or neighbourhood they are currently in.

Facebook says this could be used to send friends recommendations for restaurants and attractions, and also allow users to arrange a meet up with a friend who's currently hanging out where they're heading.

Although this feature sure to raise privacy concerns; in order to see each other's movements, both friends must have opted in to Nearby Friends and agree to allow the other to see them.

In a blog post product manager Andrea Vaccani wrote: "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."

Will you be opting into Nearby Friends, or are you a little freaked out? Let us know your thoughts below.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.