Newsletter

Google introduces real-time location share feature on Maps

Tyrone Stewart

Google has announced the upcoming rollout of a new feature to Maps that will let people share their location with friends and family – even if they don’t have the Maps app.

Available on both Android and iOS, users will be able to share their location in real-time with their Google contacts or by sending a link to friends or family on a messenger app. To inform someone of their location, users will have to open the side menu, or tap the blue dot on screen, and tap ‘share location’ before selecting who to share with. Google will also let users decided how long they wish to share their location with the other party.

Along with real-time location, users will be able to share their trip progress and their expected time of arrival. Google says this sharing will end when the user arrives at their destination.

“’Where are you now?’ and ‘What's your ETA?’ Whether you’re heading to a party or meeting up for dinner, you probably hear questions like this pretty often from family and friends,” said Daniel Resnick, engineering manager at Google Maps, in a blog post. “Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app.”

The feature will raise privacy concerns without a doubt, because links can easily be copied and pasted and sent to others. Despite this, Google did previously offer a similar service through its Latitude feature – which was discontinued on 9 August 2013. Latitude enabled mobile users to allow certain people to view their current location. This location reporting is now available on Google+ but does not yet run on all the platforms that Maps does.