<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/0-face2face-intro.png”>Using location-based apps like Foursquare and its alternatives have given us a great way to find our friends when we’re out and about. One of the issues that comes up when using some of these apps, however, is privacy. If you aren’t careful, you could be giving away your position to anyone using the service.
face2face is a location-aware smartphone app that solves the problems of privacy and safety that have become synonymous with social networking. By using general proximity – never the precise location – face2face keeps you connected but private. It shares only information between friends who are near each other and no one else.
In this article, I’ll show you where to get face2face, give you an overview of its features, and show you how to use it.
Starting Out With face2face
The first step is downloading the app on face2face’s website. This application supports multiple mobile devices. You can download the face2face app on the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, with a j2me version coming soon for Java devices.
You start off by signing into your social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or LinkedIn. This allows the application to gather the friends and connections you would want to locate or share your connection with.
After you’ve logged in and linked your accounts, you can view your social profiles, list of friends, and status updates. On the main screen you have several options, including inviting/requesting friends, searching who’s nearby, viewing notifications and feeds, and sending instant messages.
The face2face application tells you when your friend is around the corner, but they don’t tell you what coffee shop they’re in. “We make coincidences happen”, says the face2face team, “finding the connections you’d otherwise miss, without sacrificing privacy”.
Locating & Connecting With Friends
Most location services are too open. They’re too quick to share information, and the more you use them, the more you’re putting yourself out there. By using proximity instead of precise location, you can locate your friends while remaining protected.
When you link your social networking accounts to face2face, all of your friends – and friends of friends (LinkedIn) – are added to your contact list. Once they are on your list, you can request their location or contact information like their phone number, or you can send them a message.
If you are near each other, you will be able to see each other on the app. When your friends can see you, you can always see them, so there is no “stalking”. With all of your networks in one place, you can chat with or meet friends across social platforms and different types of phones.
In conclusion, face2face is one of the better geo-location apps out there when taking privacy into account. The face2face application allows you to maintain a socially active lifestyle and still be able to locate your contacts when they are close. If you enjoy accessing your social networks and are looking for a secure way to enhance that experience on your phone, face2face might be for you.
Privacy is always a big concern with applications that broadcast your position over GPS. The costs sometimes outweigh the benefits when you’re comparing letting your friends see your location versus the rest of the world being able to see it. The proximity feature is what makes face2face attractive to me, as it allows you to bump into your friends when you’re out with a little ‘help’ in finding them.
What do you think about location-based apps and privacy? Is face2face a step in the right direction, or are apps like Foursquare getting better at maintaining privacy? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!