Facebook is reportedly working on a stand-alone mobile app that will help friends find each other on the go. The app would run in the background, Bloomberg reports, tracking user location information even when it isn’t open.
Facebook will have to make any location-tracking app opt-in only, as my colleague Kevin Fitchard points out, because location has become such a hot-button issue when it comes to user privacy. But while Apple and Google have struggled with similar offerings, Facebook has a chance here to give the space a big push: Not only does it have a massive base of more than 1 billion mobile users, it also continues to build out an impressive network of local businesses.
The company will surely collect data regarding the whereabouts of its users at specific times, enabling it to deliver highly targeted ads at the most opportune time. And it could scan messages between users planning to connect face-to-face to deliver ads for, say, lunch spots or happy hour. Few companies are as well positioned to leverage location as Facebook is, and this app could be a big step in that direction.