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