Google has kept busy adding new features to Maps in recent months. Today, the popular app is getting real-time location sharing, allowing users to temporarily let friends or family keep tabs on their whereabouts. You can let someone know an ETA to an appointment, for example, or if you’ll just feel safer coming home late knowing that your loved ones can keep track of where you are.
Whenever you want to let someone know where you are, just open the side menu or tap the blue dot that represents where you are. Tap “Share location”, select who to share with and for how long. The time interval ranges from 15 minutes to 3 days, or you can choose to share “Until you turn it off” — the person you’re sharing with needs to be in your Google contacts for this, otherwise it’s time-restricted only.
Maps will share a link via your preferred messaging app to your contacts, which they can load on Google Maps to see your location or monitor your trip progress if you choose the "Share trip" option.
The feature will work on Android, iPhone, and mobile or desktop web browsers. Your can reciprocate and share their location back to you too, but it’s not mandatory. Google notes that you'll always know when you're sharing your location with someone via an icon above the compass on your map, and you always have the option of ending sharing whenever you want.
"Our goal is guiding and assisting users in the real world everyday," says Jen Fitzpatrick, the Vice President of Google Maps. "We're stretching people's perceptions on what maps can do for them, and the real world tasks that we can help them with." Other recent updates to Maps have added the ability to remember where you parked, find reviews for nearby restaurants and more.