A new Facebook feature has been made publicly available with not so much as an announcement. Friendshake uses your phone’s GPS to find the people around you on Facebook and easily add them as “Friends”. It’s half cool, half freaky.
Ostensibly, Friendshake is a way to quickly and easily Friend Request someone you meet out at, say, a concert. If you go to http://fb.com/ffn from your phone’s browser and log in to your Facebook account, you will see everybody else who is also on that page within a certain radius of you (it uses your phone’s GPS). It also reportedly works in Facebook’s iOS app by going to Menu > Apps > Find friends > Other Tools > Find Friends Nearby. Once you’re logged in you will see a screen that looks like this:
It wasn’t able to find anyone near me, because nobody really knows about this yet, but expect that to change in 3… 2…
So the benefits here are clear. You meet a cute somebody at a concert and you’re like, “Hey, we should be Facebook friends”, and they’re like “OMG, totes!” Then rather than having to spell your names and search around, you’ve got a much smaller group of people to choose from. I guess that’s great, right? It’s also presumed that it could be used to find people nearby with similar interests, or friends of friends, or pretty people to prey on. Wait, what?
Yeah, see, that’s the dark side to this kind of thing. Sure, it’d be great to easily add a contact quicker, but imagine this: some creep has been looking at you all night. You open the app, the weirdo recognises your face from your profile picture, and now the creep knows you name and possibly some of your personal info. One would assume that there will be all kinds of privacy settings added, but Facebook doesn’t have the most sterling of records when it comes to such things. I hereby advise them to be very, very careful. And I advise you to be careful with it too until we all know more about it. [TechCrunch]