Organising a meeting with a large group of people is always a chore, involving games of telephone tag and constant messages to the tune of “where are you” and “what time are you getting here”. Thankfully, however, Google Maps’ new location sharing feature is set to make this a thing of the past.
Using location data gathered via your phone’s GPS, the new feature lets you provide your friends with real-time tracking information, allowing them to see your location, route and ETA.
While the announcement may prompt privacy concerns from some, Google has assured users that they won’t be permanently broadcasting their location. Your location will only be shared with contacts when you explicitly choose to, it automatically ends when you reach your destination and you can even cancel it mid-journey if you feel like it.
“Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling out soon worldwide,” the company said as part of a blog post announcing the feature. Users will only be able to share their location via the iOS and Android apps, but contacts will be able to view locations that have been shared with them via the web and desktop apps as well.
The feature is notably similar to iOS’s ‘Find My Friends’ function, which is an established part of Apple’s ecosystem. The crucial difference between the two services, however, is that Find My Friends does not offer real time tracking.