FACEBOOK is testing a new feature that allows people to connect more easily by logging in to a page on the social network that shows people nearby.
Ryan Patterson, the Facebook engineer who built the feature, told TechCrunch that he and a colleague wanted to make it easier to connect with people you have just met.
He said: "I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a hackathon project."
Patterson added: "For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met and want to stay in contact with. Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction."
The feature, which was initially given the name Friendshake, does not show all of your friends who are nearby. Only those who have the page open are listed, meaning that attendees at a conference, for example, could connect to each other quickly by all visiting the page.
Accessing the service is as simple as logging into the page, giving Facebook permission to use your location and waiting for the search to determine who else is nearby. It is not clear how close somebody has to be to count as 'nearby'
A Facebook spokesperson said: "We are constantly testing new features but have nothing more to share at this time."
Before its iPO in New York last month, Facebook admitted that mobile was an area of weakness. The company said that revenue growth would be negatively affected by a failure to improve its mobile advertising strategy.
Facebook's IPO has been described as the worst in a decade. Shares fell consistently from the $38 launch price, at one point falling below $30.