Google earlier this week announced an update to its Google Maps allowing users to share their real-time location with their friends and families. While many talked about the ease of use the new feature brought in, one subtle thing that went unnoticed was the resurrection of once-popular Google Latitude service. In fact, Latitude served the same location sharing purpose before Google killed it to promote Google Plus, another failed product from the company.
Google had also discontinued Google Latitude over the concerns of users privacy. Google has once again brought back the feature – but quite sneakily. Location sharing has been a privacy nightmare for users. Even Facebook has drawn flak for its services like Nearby Friends that track users in real-time. However, with growing awareness about privacy, these social networking and internet companies are giving users more control over their data. In the case of Google Maps, it’s up to the user to share the location. There’s also an option to set a timer or switch it off altogether. Location sharing is quite a popular feature among WhatsApp users.
That said, Google Maps users will now know exactly where their friends are and how much time will it take for them to reach that particular location. Location sharing can be enabled between any two individuals – all you need is their email id or rather, they need to have a Gmail account. They need to approve Location Sharing and once approved, you can track them all the times unless they turn the feature off or revoke your access. ALSO READ: Google Maps transit feature extended to seven more cities in India
“Share Trip” automatically ends the moment you reach your destination. The feature is not yet activated and Google will be rolling out the new update soon. While people can track you on any device – Android, iOS, desktop, mobile – you can share your location only over Android or iOS. Google Maps will also send you constant reminders regarding location sharing. Each time you open the app, there will be a small compass on the map reminding the user that Location Sharing is enabled.
You can even share specific trips with family and friends. Once you start a trip, follow the same steps and instead, click on Share Trip, mentioning users you wish to share the trip with. People will not only be able to track you in real time but will also be able to see your estimated time of arrival.