The New York Times reports that social-networking site Facebook will soon add broadcasting users’ location data to its services.
Starting next month, the more than 400 million Facebook users could begin seeing a new kind of status update flow through their news feed: the current locations of their friends.
Facebook plans to take the wraps off a new location-based feature in late April at f8, the company’s yearly developer conference, according to several people briefed on the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss unannounced services.
At that time, the company also offered some foreshadowing of the new feature: “If we offer a service that supports this type of location sharing we will present you with an opt-in choice of whether you want to participate.” […]
The new location feature will have two aspects, according to the people familiar with Facebook’s plans. One will be a service offered directly by Facebook that will allow users to share their location information with friends.
The other will be a set of software tools, known as A.P.I.’s, that outside developers can use to offer their own location-based services to Facebook users. […]
The staggering number of users on the site has also brought a heightened level of internal scrutiny to the project, according to the people familiar with it. Facebook has been trying to figure out how to add location data to its service without raising potential privacy concerns or negative feedback from its users, as it has in the past with new features and redesigns.