The phrase “I’m never alone” cannot be more true now. Google has announced that it will revamp its popular maps app to allow users to share their locations with friends and family in real time. This unique feature is available for both Android and iOS users.
You can also pick a special friend (family member, spouse, loved one) to share your location with long-term. The feature is part of a collection of new tools aimed at promoting the effectiveness of Google Maps, which analysts say is critical to the company's ambitions in commerce and transport.
“The location-sharing feature is aimed at helping people find each other in crowded places, such as concerts and conferences, and users will retain control over who they share their whereabouts with and for how long.” said Google executive Jen Fitzpatrick, who leads Google Maps. “Google will also unveil mapping features aimed at helping users find parking and remember where they parked their cars.” Fitzpatrick continued.
Location-sharing features have sparked concern among privacy advocates in the past. It is creepy to some extent. Addressing these concerns, Ben Greenwood, a product manager for Google Maps said “Google will remind users both in the app and via email of whom they are sharing their location with. While the recipient of a user's location could pass that link onto a third party, Google will advise people to use the feature only with those they trust.”
Location sharing isn’t entirely new; other online media also have ventured into this stream for ex, Facebook tells you when a friend is nearby — it even lets you “wave” at them and gives you the option to send a message if they respond. The cab hailing companies, Lyft and Uber give you the option of seeing where your friend is if they share their ride location with you.
This feature certainly has its perks and downfalls but if used properly and in a smart way, location sharing can be really helpful.