Google is on a Maps mission in 2017. Since the beginning of the year, it has added some pretty great features to make it easier to get where you’re going, including Uber integration, parking availability, and saved places. Now it wants to help your friends know where you are.
In an update coming to the Android and iOS Maps apps, you’ll be able to broadcast your location without needing to leave the app. It’ll be on a need-to-know basis, of course, but when you’re running late or just want to let someone know where you are, you’ll only be a tap away from sending the information along.
To use the new feature is simple. You can either open the side menu or tap the blue dot on the map to find the new Share location option. Once it opens, you’ll be able to select who to share with and how long you want them to have access to your location. You can share your location with anyone in your contacts or generate a link that can be sent to another social app.
On the other end, the people you’ve selected to share with will see your location in Maps once they tap the link, and you will see an icon above the compass on your own map letting you know that you’re being watched. And even if you have a time limit set, you’ll be able to stop sharing your location at any time.
Additionally, you’ll also be able to send information about the current trip you’re taking, so people know when you’re about to arrive. Just tap on the arrow to the right of the route instructions at the bottom of the screen and select the Share trip progress option. Once you select the recipients, they’ll be able to see where you are, when you’re expected to arrive, and track your progress. Sharing will automatically end when you arrive at your destination.
Google says the update will be rolling out “soon” to apps and the Maps site to users worldwide.
Moving forward: While all of the recent Maps updates have been great, we’re particularly looking forward to this one. It might seem creepy to have your family and friends spy on your location, but Google is handling it well, with expiration times, automatic shut-off, and trip tracking that ends when you arrive. It’s a bit like Apple’s Find My Friends app, but we think it’ll be way more useful built into Maps rather than needing to remember to open a second app.