Reports today say Facebook is developing a mobile app to help you to track down your friends. This announcement may not come as a surprise, as Zuckerburg emphasized his plans to bring Facebook to a new ‘mobile-first’ front at the start of this winter.
While the app could help Facebook in several ways, it’s also likely to raise privacy and testing concerns among users. Douglas MacMillan, of Bloomberg says:
“Facebook is adding features to help it profit from the surging portion of its more than 1 billion users who access the service via handheld devices. The tracking app could help Facebook sell ads based on users’ whereabouts and daily habits. It may also raise the hackles of consumers and privacy advocates concerned about the company’s handling of personal information.”
Although the mobile app may worry users initially – Facebook knows the importance of security testing – as any company with more than 1 billion users should.
However, as more applications needing multiple users for full functionality launch, the requirements for testing change. An app for location tracking – or other similar means – has to be used between two or more people to work, making it nearly impossible to sufficiently test the app inside the lab. The only way to know if the mobile app is functioning at all, never mind intuitively, is to test among two or more people under real world conditions. As multi-user applications continue to grow in popularity, in-the-wild testing will become an imperative part of development.