Google Maps will let you share your location with friends and family for a specific period of time

Google Maps has right now announced a new feature to permit you to share your location with others. Whereas which may seem creepy, it’s not the primary so as to add this kind of performance. Fb tells you when a buddy is close by – it even lets you “wave” at them and provides you the option to ship a message in the event that they holler again. Foursquare’s Swarm lets you verify in wherever you are and each Lyft and Uber give you the option of seeing the place your buddy is that if they share their journey location with you.

Now Google Maps will let you inform your friends the place you are and give them instructions to your location. It will additionally let you decide a particular buddy (like a family member, partner or love curiosity, for instance) to share your location with long-term.

If Google’s new addition sounds acquainted, that’s as a result of the corporate a number of years in the past used to supply a comparable option referred to as Latitude, which was additionally constructed into Google Maps. However in 2013, Google determined to as a substitute roll location-sharing into its social network Google+ because it exited the enterprise of check-ins and real-time monitoring in Maps.

Nevertheless, it was arguably a mistake to drag location sharing from Google Maps the place it labored best and made essentially the most sense. With out the option, many customers flip to location-sharing right now by way of third-party apps, family locators, and even iMessage, which right now contains its personal, similarly-designed location sharing operate. There’s even a new maps app designed particularly for individuals following every others’ automobiles on lengthy highway journeys.

The new feature is accessible now however you’ll must set it up for every particular person first. To take action, faucet the blue dot indicating the place you are within the map or go to the aspect menu within the app and faucet “Get Began.” After that, simply observe the identical however as a substitute faucet “Share Location” then select any quantity of contacts you need to share your location with for a jiffy, hours, months or on an on-going foundation.

Those that don’t have Google Maps can share by a brief hyperlink by way of SMS. (In fact, solely share that brief hyperlink with somebody you belief sufficient to not submit it to the web or share with others you don’t know or need discovering you.)

Location sharing may be a helpful feature at occasions, however it’s additionally fraught with potential nightmare situations — breaking apart with a vital different and forgetting you’ve set them to the always-on setting in location sharing throughout the app, for instance.

That is one of the the explanation why Facebook recently dialed back on location sharing in its “Nearby Friends” feature. Up till the tip of final 12 months, the feature let your Fb friends see your exact location on a map when you had the option enabled. And it provided the flexibility to both quickly or completely share your location with others you chosen.

However customers who forgot about having location sharing enabled have been opening themselves as much as being tracked and doubtlessly stalked. It additionally lent a type of creepy vibe to the social network that’s right now centered on letting customers extra exactly management what data they’re sharing, and with whom.

Fb in December decided to pull out the precise location sharing component in Close by Friends and now provides to point out proximities and neighborhoods as a substitute.

Google a minimum of goals to verify you don’t neglect having left the location sharing setting enabled. The corporate says you ought to get a notification each two to a few weeks reminding you that you’ve left the feature on. Google additionally talked about it has a public coverage staff working with home violence teams, nevertheless it wasn’t clear if the staff had checked in with these teams on this specific feature to create extra safeguards.

Google admitted location sharing is a delicate subject however instructed TechCrunch, “That is about making issues easy, accessible and giving people who entry to transparency…Anybody with unhealthy intentions can discover many different apps and means on the market. We’re centered on including on that layer of comfort.”

The new feature comes at a time when Google has been quickly including expanded performance to its Maps application, in gentle of the menace of a now better-performing Apple Maps. Over the previous a number of months, Google has added issues like the ability to track where you’ve parked, visibility into the parking situation at your destination, integrated ride-sharing, a bookmarking and bucket list option, the flexibility to add pits stops on a route, and it redesigned the app’s interface for simpler entry to frequent wants, like data on visitors, transit, and locations.

Location sharing is rolling out shortly on iOS, Android and the desktop to customers worldwide.

[Post updated to clarify the timing of the feature’s launch – not all users will see the feature today, as it’s a staged rollout.]

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