Facebook is aiming for a mid-March release for the new app, and it’s also using engineers from previously acquired mobile location startups Glancee and Gowalla.
News of the app doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Facebook has been strangely quiet in the mobile friend discovery market. But we figured Facebook was up to something since it only grabbed Glancee’s engineers, and it shut down Gowalla’s mobile check-in service last year. A location-tracking app would also fit in neatly alongside the launch of Graph Search, which was all about digging up useful information about your friends.
Just like similar local discovery apps Sonar and Highlight, Bloomberg notes that the new Facebook app will run in the background to continuously monitor your phone’s location. The project is being led by former Microsoft and Google employee Peter Deng, who now serves as one of Facebook’s many product directors.
While it makes sense for Facebook to offer some sort of mobile friend discovery app, it certainly won’t help the company’s case when it comes to privacy concerns from users and regulators. Hopefully, Facebook has learned a lesson from the recent Instagram terms of service changes, which caused an uproar among Instagram users who thought Facebook was going to use their photos in ads without their permission.