According to Bloomberg there’s a new app on the horizon. Facebook is reportedly developing a standalone application to help its users easily find and track their friends.
Bloomberg has reported that the application is anticipated to be released sometime next month in time for South by Southwest (SXSW). Apparently the app will track your location while running in the background and share it with nearby friends that you’ve allowed access privileges to. Yes, it’s true Facebook already tracks user locations, but it’s limited to geo-tagged posts. This application will constantly track a user’s position.
Similar to apps like Find My Friends, Glancee, Foursquare, Gowalla, and Highlight, Facebook’s unnamed and upcoming application seems like it’s going to be the next best thing for geo-junkies. So why the sudden interest in GPS-friendly application development by Facebook?
Relatively speaking anyway, none of the previously mentioned applications every really became popular. Foursquare was reported to have roughly 10.4 million monthly users in December of last year and while that may sound like a nice user base, for a social application that’s peanuts. Location-based applications have suffered because they rely on user-input, and an initial lack of users means little to no user data, which in turn means little to no value for new users. It’s suspected that Facebook looked at these results, looked at their 1 billion plus users and decided to give it a go.
The new application is suspected to have been developed with the help of the previous Glancee team, acquired by Facebook last May, and the previous Gowalla team, acquired by Facebook in 2011.
Don’t be mistaken, Facebook is considering launching this application as a standalone app and not an additional Facebook feature. It’s believed that Facebook may be acting cautiously here to avoid upsetting existing users. If that’s the case, with all of the commotion about Facebook privacy issues I don’t blame them.
If the application is widely adopted though, it could prove to be a very valuable source of information. Facebook could potentially use data retrieved from the app to not only market advertisements based on user location, but also on daily user routines. That’s extremely powerful stuff!
Facebook has yet to comment on this story.
With this announcement and Facebook’s recent Graph Search, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Thoughts?