Facebook tests Snap Map-style redesign of Nearby Friends

Helping friends to find themselves offline has been a great missed opportunity for Facebook . Whether the brand is too spooky or the courtesy release of its location-sharing feature was not creepy enough, Facebook's Close Friends never took off. Only 103 of my 1,120 friends in San Francisco have it activated.

He is not the only one who struggles with "The quest to cure loneliness". Foursquare Swarm, Glympse, Find My Friends from Apple and the real-time coordinate of Google Maps.

The redesigned map of the home screen of Facebook's close friends

But last year, Snapchat released a different version of the idea based on its biggest acquisition, the French application Zenly. With Snap Map, it was not only the utility of viewing a list of friends' locations as in Facebook, but it was also extended through maps where you could dive to see your latest Geo Stories. It was as fun and as happy as it was to actually be with people in person.

Facebook is now testing a meaningful redesign of close friends that looks a lot like Snap Map. Replace the list view of the neighborhoods and cities where friends are located with a map that groups friends by city. A "see list" button opens the previous home screen, although in both views, you can only see the approximate location of a friend in a neighborhood or city, not their exact coordinates. Facebook confirms to TechCrunch that "we are testing a new design for close friends, a tool that people have used over the last four years to meet with their friends in person." People have complete control over whether or not to use close friends. You can activate it in the bookmark of close friends ".

That statement subtly promotes Facebook's privacy settings for close Friends while urging people to return and activate it. The screenshot was generated from the code of the Android application of Facebook by a mobile researcher and the frequent TechCrunch typographer Jane Manchun Wong. Interestingly, after the TechCrunch query, Wong tells me that Facebook seems to have disabled the server's ability to access the map function.

The reason is that Facebook is desperate to participate, especially among younger users who are fleeing it. to Snapchat and Instagram. If it is renewed with this map and other improvements, close friends could become a more popular utility that keeps people opening Facebook. Getting more people to share your location in real time could open up new opportunities for targeting local ads. And Facebook could benefit by showing that it unlocks meaningful offline connections due to its recent brand problems after the interference of the election and says it is the opposite of "time well spent".

but is sadly buried behind an uncomfortable pinch gesture of Snapchat's home screen, or inside the search bar where some users do not expect it. The internal data of use of Snapchat obtained by Taylor Lorenz for The Daily Beast revealed that Snap Map had sunk from a maximum of 35 million unique spectators daily after its launch in June of 2017 to only 19 million in that month of September, only 11 percent of Snapchat users at that time. Users never seemed to stop using it as a method to browse Snapchat's geo-tagged content.

Unfortunately, none of these location apps have discovered that the meeting is not all about the location. It's about availability. It does not matter if I see that my best friend is in a cafeteria immediately if they are not really available to hang out. They could be up to date, have a business meeting or try to do some work. If I fall alone because I see that they are close, it could be uncomfortable. You must first send them a message, but it may seem hopeless if they can not or do not want to meet with you.

Location applications need an availability indicator similar to the green dot "in line" used by many chat applications. You could activate that if you wanted to show that you are interested in a time of spontaneous friendship.

Actually, Facebook spent the last year trying to turn this into Messenger in the form of the "Your Emoji" status. . It allows you to choose an emoji such as martini, fork and knife or bar that temporarily overlays on your profile picture so that people know you are drinking, dining or exercising. The feature has not yet been extensively tested, indicating that Facebook has not broken the madness of encouraging online meetings.

Ideally, Facebook would combine nearby Friends and Your Emoji to help users share approximately where they are and if they wish. get out. The next step would be to make it easier to see the Facebook story of a friend geographically labeled from anywhere. And then, Facebook could continue to copy Snap Map by making Public Stories and other location-based content accessible from the map so you can browse for fun instead of the News Source or the Stories tray.

However, making Close Friends work may require Facebook to rethink the privacy element. The friends chart has been swollen to include family members, coworkers, bosses and distant acquaintances with whom users may not want to share their location in real time. Finding a better way to share your location with your closest friends could make more people feel comfortable with the feature.

Facebook needs to rethink the whole stack of products to include high definition cameras, large phone screens and a fast network Connections that facilitate the transmission of information through images that text. Visual communication is the future, and that goes beyond the Stories.