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Google is announcing today the launch of location sharing right within Google Maps.
Once the feature goes live on Android and iOS, Google Maps will let you share your location for just a set period of time, like half an hour. You can turn off location sharing for a specific person at any given time. And while you’re going somewhere, you can opt to share your location — and then stop sharing it once you’ve arrived at your destination. Plus, if someone is sharing their location with you, you can make it go away. In any case, the app will always let you know when you’re sharing your location information, and your sharing will be reflected on your My Activity dashboard from Google.
But Google Maps is Google Maps — and it’s got more than 1 billion active users. That said, your friends and family members won’t need to have the app installed in order to see where you are; you can just share your location using a short link.
Apple does provide a way for people to share their location — through the Maps app, which is available on iOS and macOS. Facebook at one point provided a way to share exact location but the social networking company ultimately revised it. Microsoft released an experimental location-sharing app called SquadWatch in 2015.
Google has been enhancing Maps recently with the information about how local events will impact traffic and how difficult it will be to find a parking spot in an area. And on Android devices around the world, Google Maps will soon be able to keep track of where you parked your car.
The new location-sharing capability won’t integrate with traffic and navigation app Waze, and there won’t be any initial integration with the Google Assistant, Google Maps vice president Jen Fitzpatrick told reporters during a briefing this week at a Google office in San Francisco.
“To be very clear, this is not adding capability to people’s lives that people don’t have through other means,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s about making it simple and accessible, [with] a lot of control and transparency along the way.”
A blog post has more detail.
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