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Google Map Live Location: Share Your Real-Time Location
March 31, 2017
Google Maps offers a life-saving feature called real-time location that allows you to share your live location with your friends, relatives, and co-workers. Moreover, while doing so, you have full control over your profile privacy. This feature of Google Maps is available on both Android as well as iOS devices.
Initially, the real-time location sharing option was only available for Google+ users. But, eventually, it also became a part of Google Maps.
Google rolled out this new feature on 27th March 2017. Since then, several users have noticed this feature on Google Maps, while others are yet to become aware of it. Here’s the low down on how real-time location sharing on Google Maps works and how you can use it.
How this Feature Works
Here’s what you have to do to be able to share your location on Google Maps.
- Open the Google Maps app on your Android or iOS device.
- Click on the blue dot representing your current location.
- You will see three options on the screen:
- See Nearby Places
- Share Your Location
- Save Your Parking
- Click on the ‘Share your location’ option.
- You will see a new screen showing you various options on whom to share the location with and for how long.
Source: The Verge
- You can increase or decrease the time for which you want to share your location. In case you want to share it indefinitely, choose ‘Until you turn this off’.
- You can choose the person you want to share your location with by scrolling to the right or selecting any one of the channels mentioned right below the contacts thread.
- The recipient will receive a notification/alert that you are trying to share your location.
- By clicking on the unique link on the notification message, they will be able to land on Google Maps and track your position for the set period of time.
Highlights of Real-Time Location Sharing on Google Maps
It’s quite unsurprising that like Google’s other apps and tools, real-time location is also quite extensive and easy-to-use. Here are some of the highlights of this feature.
Usually, the default setting of the sharing time is 1 hour.
You can easily increase or decrease the timing as per your requirement.
Once the time is over, the person will not be able to locate you further. You can even toggle it off before the time is up.
You can share your location with one or multiple people at the same time. You will be able to see all of them on the top of your screen. For each one of them, you will get a unique sharing link, which will help you manage them individually.
The real-time location sharing feature is available on both Android and iOS. In case you’re unable to access it on your phone, you need to update the Google Maps app. You must have the latest version of Android and iOS on your mobile to experience this feature on Google Maps.
Interestingly, just as Google came out with this incredible feature, Facebook also announced the live sharing option.
Stan Chudnovsky, Head of Product of Facebook Messenger, did not commit to a time frame and stated, “We’re working on the right things”. Immediately after that, they came up with Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ feature. This feature enables your Facebook friends to locate your exact position on the map if you give them permanent or temporary permission.
But in case you forget to disable the sharing permission, you will be open to getting tracked and stalked.
Real-time location sharing is extremely useful, but it can be a hazard to your privacy. If you keep the location feature on ‘all the time’ in the app, then there are high chances of misuse. To avoid security mishaps, the app now sends email reminders every three weeks to inform the users that their current position is visible to selected users.
How to Use Real-Time Location in Different Situations?
Real-time location sharing is quite convenient and can be easily used in a variety of situations. Are you driving and need to share your estimated time of arrival (ETA)? Or do you want to stop someone from knowing your location? Based on each situation, your app usage mechanism will change.
If you have a Google Account
- Add your Gmail address to your Google contacts.
- Open Google Maps app on your Android/iOS device.
- Click on Menu> Add People. Pick a time frame and click on Select People. Choose whom you want to share the location with and click on Share.
If you do not have a Google Account
- Open Google Maps app on Android or iOS.
- Click on Menu and click on Add People. Select More and click on Copy to clipboard. Send this link to your contacts. People with this link can track your position for the time frame you choose or up to 72 hours.
If you want to share using another app
- While adding people, select an app on which you want to share your location with your contacts.
If you want to stop sharing your position
- Click on Menu and select Remove beside the person’s name you want to stop sharing the location with.
If you are and want to share your ETA
- Set a driving destination on Google Maps.
- Start navigation.
- Click on More> Share trip progress. Choose a person from the list to share. Click Share.
- Location sharing will automatically stop once you reach the destination
- In case you want to stop it before, click on More and choose Stop Sharing.
If you want to see someone else’s location
- Click on the link shared by your friend/relative.
If you want to stop seeing someone’s location
- On the map, click on the friend’s icon. Click on More and select ‘Hide from map’ to hide their location temporarily or ‘Block’ to hide it permanently.
If you no longer want to hide someone
- Click on Menu > More > Show on map. Choose the person you want to now see the location of.
Many users who have started to use real-time location feature report it as a positive step taken by Google towards enhancing public services and personal security. People now feel safer traveling anywhere, anytime, as they are always connected to their friends.
Recently, Kolkata Bus Service was reported using the real-time location feature brilliantly. Google has teamed up with West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) to share the real-time position of the buses and their arrival timings on Google Maps. The residents of West Bengal can now enter their destinations and get directions. Then they can even click on the ‘Transit’ icon to get the real-time information of different bus routes and timings. They have claimed this will help people plan their trips in advance and never miss a bus.
Can you think of more creative ways to use the real-time location sharing option to benefit society and, or even enhance the security of loved ones? Let us know in the comments below!