Now Facebook wants to predict where you are going next
Location data is a critical piece of users' personal information. And tech companies continuously tracking users' location has been a topic of concern not just for experts but also for users in general. Unsurprisingly, the issue came up during the Congressional testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai as well. And now, a report suggests that Facebook doesn't want to know where its users are but it also wants to know where they would go.
According to a report by BuzzFeed News, Facebook has filed a patent that not only enable it to predict where an individual user would be in future using their own location data but they also empower it to the data of other users to predict a user's future location. Sounds both creepy and complicated? But it's not.
It's patent titled "Offline trajectory" determines a user's future location by calculating the transition probability, which in turn is based on his "previously logged location data associated with a number of users who were at the current location".
To put it simply, the technology would make use of people with you and near you to make predictions about you. This information can then be used to provide content to the user whenever they are in an area of no connectivity.
Another patent titled "Location prediction using wireless signals on online social network" explains how tracking the strength of Bluetooth, GPS, near- field communication (NFC), Infrared (IR) communication, local area network and even a wireless network could be used to determine users' current location and then predict their future geographical location.
At the moment, Facebook tracks a user's location via features such as Nearby Friends on Facebook and Live Location in Facebook Messenger. And now, the new patents suggest that the social media giant is looking into more ways to track its users and serve them with ads or what it calls customised content.
The good news, however, is that while the company has filed a patent for the technology, it doesn't intend to deploy it just yet. "We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications - such as this one - should not be taken as an indication of future plans," a Facebook spokesperson told the publication in a statement.