To the delight of local businesses everywhere, Facebook is reportedly readying a mobile app designed to track users’ every physical move.
“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,” writes Bloomberg, citing a source.
“The app is reportedly being developed by engineers from Glancee, a startup that Facebook acquired in mid-2012,” according ZDNet.
“In its broad details, the new project resembles apps like Foursquare, Highlight, Google's Latitude, and Apple's Find My Friends,” writes CNet. “At their best, the apps help friends find one another when they aren't even looking. At their worst, they're a privacy minefield and a battery drain.
For its part, “Facebook is showing a keen interest in location-sharing,” Mashable notes. Last summer, for instance, “The company tested a ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature in its mobile app.”
In fact, “Facebook already collects your location, both actively and passively,” WebProNews reminds us. “Once you allow the Facebook app to use your current location, Facebook knows exactly where you are.”
“Building out a mobile app that connects the dots of its existing location service into one continuous stream of real-time user location data seems like a no brainer,” ReadWrite.com reasons.
Yet, “how Facebook plans to sweet talk its billion-plus increasingly cynical users into toggling continuous geo-data on is the real question here,” ReadWrite adds. Still, “it's a matter of when and how - not if.”
More broadly, “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,” Bloomberg points out. “The tracking app could help Facebook sell ads based on users’ whereabouts and daily habits.”