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Facebook pulls Find Friends Nearby GPS-locator feature

June 26, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Facebook created a new feature called Find Friends Nearby that helps users find new friends using smartphones' GPS. And then, a day after, pulled the feature back.  More: Facebook giveth ... ... And Facebook taketh away
Facebook created a new feature called Find Friends Nearby that helps users… (Facebook )

It was kind of creepy, but it also had potential to be useful. But in the end it didn't matter because Facebook has pulled Find Friends Nearby as unceremoniously as it debuted it.

After the feature was introduced to the world Sunday by one of the Facebook engineers who created it, Facebook pulled the feature not long after, taking it offline the very next day.

Find Friends Nearby was definitely not a polished final product, but the feature certainly seemed like it could have been useful. Essentially, it was meant to help you connect with new-found friends offline by having both people access it at the same time. Opening the tool from your phone's browser or Facebook app would show other users on the page within your proximity using your phones' GPS.

ROUNDUP: The freshest Facebook features

That could've sped up the process of how new friends locate your profile to add you, which can be a huge obstacle for people trying to find users with common names, such as mine.

But  the feature, which was originally called "Friendshake," could have posed privacy problems for Facebook. Immediately, the possibility of members using the feature inappropriately came to the surface, with some expressing concerns that people could use the feature to locate information on others near them.

When I first asked Facebook about the feature, the social network giant said it had no comment. But after Find Friends Nearby was pulled, the company said sometimes Facebook does that.

"This wasn't a formal release -- this was something that a few engineers were testing," a company spokeswoman said. "With all tests, some get released as full products, others don't."

Facebook said it had nothing more to add at the moment, but did say that if any news happens on the Find Friends Nearby front, it will let people know.

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