The latest smartphones have some pretty great tools to find friends – like the appropriately named “Find Friends” on Apple iOS, and Google Latitude. Problem is, most of those services require you and your friends to have similiar smartphone platforms in order to work well. Facebook has finally taken the bait, and now offers you the ability to scan for friends that might be close to you, called Friendshake.
The Friendshake function is now publicly available, even on the mobile site. While it can scan for your own existing friends close to you, the more powerful feature is the ability to quickly add someone you might have just met to your friends. Imagine being at a conference, and then wanting to connect with someone – you both fire up Friendshake/Find Friends Nearby, the app scans for each other based on GPS coordinates, and then you confirm to add each other as a friend. Yes – I know my scenario is unlikely – I can imagine it being far more powerful in social situations. No more figuring out how to spell someone’s name in a noisy area – simply fire up the page and add each other.
It should be pointed out that you cannot just add random people around you – both parties need to have the “Friendshake” page open, either inside a Facebook app, or on a mobile web page. So you should not get random friends requests from people around you, unless you keep the http://fb.com/ffn page open. You can also access it from the mobile apps – go to the menu, select apps, find friends, other tools, Find Friends Nearby. We tried it, and it is already fully functional.
It is clear it is not yet being marketed yet, so expect a bigger push from Facebook soon to let people know about this new feature.