Google Maps Introduces New Location Sharing Feature With Real-Time Friend Tracking

Wednesday March 22, 2017 7:57 AM PDT by Mitchel Broussard

Google today announced an update coming to the iOS, Android, and desktop versions of Google Maps will introduce a way for users to share their real-time locations with friends and family. Google's update differs from the location sharing in Apple Maps, Messages, and Find My Friends, which all lack the ability to follow friends around on a map in real-time.

In Google Maps on iOS, users will be able to tap into the app's side menu, choose "Share Location," and pick from a selection of approved contacts who will see their current location. Contacts are pulled from existing Google accounts, and users can also send links through Messages to friends who aren't on their contacts list when they need to share their location.


After a user's location is shared, their chosen contacts will see where they are within Google Maps, represented as a small face icon that moves in real-time according to where the sharer is located. A small icon above the compass in the app will remind users that their location is being shared for the period of time they requested, but they can also choose to end sharing early.

Google today posted a video to detail a real scenario where its location sharing feature could come in handy, focusing on the creation of a surprise birthday party. The video also shows off how users can share their car trips with friends, so they can see an ETA on when the sharer should be arriving.


Google said that location sharing will be rolling out worldwide sometime soon. Google Maps can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
40 months ago
The article is incorrect - Find My Friends is not a one-time location share. You can temporarily or permanently share your realtime location with others.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
This looks really great. Sometimes I stalk my wife and this seems like a big improvment over the forgotten Find My Friends.

At least we can count on other companies to update things.
[doublepost=1490195397][/doublepost]

The article is incorrect - Find My Friends is not a one-time location share. You can temporarily or permanently share your realtime location with others.

But Find My Friends doesn't follow a person in real time. You have to keep hitting the refresh icon every minute or so. I'm aware I sound like a crazy stalker.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

Wouldn't this be a big battery hog?

Yes, and the reason why Find My Friends app updates locations only sporadically.

Ideally, the app should poll location only once every few minutes but provide continuous real-time location if the app is running as a foreground active app.

I would like Find My Friends be fully integrated to Apple Maps in iOS 11.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Wouldn't this be a big battery hog?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

The article is incorrect - Find My Friends is not a one-time location share. You can temporarily or permanently share your realtime location with others.

I updated the article to try and more closely explain, but it is tricky. Find My Friends updates with friends' locations when the app is opened, or when you tap the refresh button, but you can't sit there and watch their progress physically move around on a map. That's what Google Maps is offering. FMF is pretty much close enough to be considered in real time if you sit there and tap the button, so it gets hard to distinguish.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

This looks really great. Sometimes I stalk my wife and this seems like a big improvment over the forgotten Find My Friends.

At least we can count on other companies to update things.
[doublepost=1490195397][/doublepost]
But Find My Friends doesn't follow a person in real time. You have to keep hitting the refresh icon every minute or so. I'm aware I sound like a crazy stalker.

Wrong. My wife and I use Find Friends all the time. I can see her dot moving on a map on my screen as she drives home, no refresh necessary.
[doublepost=1490228415][/doublepost]

I've wanted this feature for a long time!

Some of my friends are on Android and most of them don't use or even feel comfortable with Find My Friends, and half of them can never remember how to share their location in messages.

But EVERYONE has and uses Google Maps, and sharing my drive home to my wife so she gets an ETA especially when traffic is bad will be very nice.

Sorry, but your statement that "EVERYONE has and uses Google Maps" is wildly innacurate. Hundreds of millions of people use Apple Maps, many whom never bother to install Google Maps.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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