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You can see exactly where your Facebook friends are in real time, but only if they let you

Facebook Nearby Friends Feature

Facebook on Thursday took the wraps off of a new feature that, depending on your perspective, is either incredibly cool or incredibly creepy. For this reason, the company has wisely decided to make this new feature strictly an opt-in affair to avoid completely freaking out users who are sensitive to privacy.

The new feature, called Nearby Friends, lets you “occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up.” The feature lets you and your friends give your precise locations in real time, although you have to explicitly give the app permission before it’s allowed to do so. More crucially, the new feature won’t flip on at all unless you specifically tell it to, which means that Facebook users won’t be unwittingly telling the world where they are through their smartphones.

Facebook says it’s rolling out its Nearby Friends feature on its iOS and Android apps in the coming weeks.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.