With over 1 billion monthly active users on Facebook, it’s the most popular social network globally. While some initially viewed Facebook as distancing people from reality, there is a movement to harness the power of this same technology to bring us closer together in the real world.
Facebook’s new “Friends Nearby,” which lets friends share their real-time location with other Facebook friends, gives an entirely new meaning to the “connected generation.” The power of combining our social networks with our smartphone location can fundamentally change the way we meet and connect with others.
This is not an entirely new idea as there have been plenty of companies working on this. However, there’s a difference when a big player like Facebook stresses the importance of location sharing. It helps to establish instant credibility, drives maximum attention and helps to facilitate mass consumer adoption.
At SocialRadar, we’re excited about this news because it validates what we’re doing and illustrates there is a huge potential for this technology — the powerful mixture of social networking information combined with location.
Although what we’re doing is similar, the technology capabilities are distinctly different:
SocialRadar’s iPhone app contextualizes the whole world and all the people around you – regardless of what social network they’re using. In other words, you’re not limited to just info on Facebook and your friends on Facebook. SocialRadar pulls location data across all of the top social networks — Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter. Facebook only shows you where your friends from Facebook are based on proximity.
SocialRadar lets you know everyone in the room, how you are connected to them, and what they have been up to. While Facebook only tells you when a Facebook friend is nearby, SocialRadar also let you know when an acquaintance from work, or college alumni, or friend of a friend is close.
Facebook’s privacy settings are complex and don’t allow you to be anonymous. SocialRadar’s simple approach to privacy — with the ability to be anonymous or invisible — is one of our most popular features.
SocialRadar allows you to setup custom alerts to let you know when one of your connections is nearby — for example a colleague, a sorority sister, or someone in your LinkedIn group. Facebook’s alerts are limited to telling you when a friend is nearby.
And we have the most innovative technology on the market — our location information is the most current and relevant compared to any app out there.
We see a lot of positives to Facebook highlighting location services, bringing more overall awareness, validity and consumer adoption.