By Binu Paul email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 05, 2013 10:34 AM EST
Facebook, which celebrated its ninth birthday recently, is reportedly developing a standalone application to locate their friends in real life.
The ground-breaking app is scheduled for a March release and according to people with knowledge of the matter, the app will find nearby friends and would run even when the program isn't open on a handset, Bloomberg reports. The app is expected to boost Facebook's profit-making drive as the location-tracking app will help the company to sell ads based on users' whereabouts and daily habits. However, the move may shed shadows over its already-dented reputation of user privacy protection.
According to the report, the team that handles the app in question is being led by Peter Deng, a product director who joined the company from Google in 2007. The team also has members from Glancee, a location-tracking startup the social-networking giant acquired last year and from Gowalla, a location-based social network whose assets were purchased in December 2011.
The move makes further sense to what its Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said during his Jan. 30 call with analysts about the future focus of the company. "A lot of what we had to do last year was simply to improve our mobile development process. The next thing we're going to do is get really good at building new mobile-first experiences," Zuckerberg said.
The GPS records the current location of the users when they update status, share photos from their phones, or check in to a venue. "With the new app, the company would go a step further by tracking user whereabouts in the 'background' of Apple's mobile operating system, even when other programs are running or the phone isn't in use," the report said quoting one of the sources.
"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," CNET reports.
Facebook declined to comment on the rumors.