Facebook's Location Tracking - Are We Ready For This?

Facebook Places

With a stalling stock, and tough competition from peers, it seems Facebook is now getting a bit more than it bargained for. This probably explains why they're hard at work improving their service, and introducing more features such as Graph Search, video and voice calling, and some brand new marketing features, the list is long, but doesn't end there. Facebook is introducing a new location tracking feature, which will help Facebook friends who are nearby to connect to each other. Additionally, businesses will be able to reach out to customers and promote offers to users based on their location. Apparently, this is a big change. But are we ready for this kind of thing?

The evolution of the social media user

Back in the days Facebook was born, there wasn't really much concept of a social media where people could connect and get together to form private circles, share life events etc. Back then, Facebook was one of the very few social tools for connecting. Fast forward now, and you'll see a plethora of such services waiting to be checked out. The social media user is no longer restricted to a few means of communication. There are so many other tools that directly (Google+, Twitter etc) or indirectly (Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram) compete with Facebook. Hence, the competition may be too much for Facebook to handle in the long run.

Another trend that's been on the rise for the past few years is that of users going mobile. More and more people are now using mobile devices to surf the web. And an even higher percentage of social users use their mobile devices for socialising. According to Facebook's latest 10-K report, about half of its monthly active users are mobile users. This clearly points to the eventuality that Facebook will have to find mobile revenue streams as well, such as mobile ads, since around 85% of its income comes from advertisements. 

Facebook also seems to have lost some of its charm. According to a study, around 21% of its regular users are now too busy to log in as much. 10% think it's a waste of time, whereas another 10% have deleted or deactivated their accounts for long periods in the last year. This goes on to show that users are less and less interested in Facebook with the coming days - all the more reason for Facebook to enhance its features and bring life to itself.

Location tracking

With the world going mobile, it's no wonder Facebook has decided to do the same with its location tracking feature. It bought a location tracking setup in the form of a social media known as Glances last year. And the year before that, Facebook acquired Gowalla, another location-based social media. Now, combining the efforts, Facebook has launched its own location tracking feature that is based on the push technology. Push notifications will tell Facebook when a user is at some place, and when his friends are nearby.

Great mobile feature? Probably. But breach of privacy? Totally! Users were already agitated on the photo tag suggestion feature. So this new feature might just send the paranoid user into a frenzy. People don't want their location to be tracked, and their whereabouts be disclosed to a company that's made up its own little world out there? Besides, this new feature would be a heaven for stalkers, which I am sure none of us sane people want, do we?

What do you think of these new features Facebook is so intent upon introducing? Would you like to be tracked socially? Answer with a yes or no in the comments below, along with a remark to let us know how the majority of you feels about this. Cheers :)

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