Facebook has added a new Live Location feature to Messenger. You have been able to share your location on a one-off basis for some time, but Facebook has now added real-time location sharing to the mix. This comes just a few days after real-time location sharing arrived on Google Maps.
Your smartphone has the capacity to reveal where you are at any given moment. This is bad news for cheats, but good news for everyone else. Facebook thinks you’ll appreciate the ability to track your friends in real-time, so if you value privacy above all else you may want to look away now.
Live Location Updates
Facebook’s new Live Location feature does exactly what its name suggests; it lets you share your real-time location with a friend or friends using Messenger. You can share your location in either an individual or group message, with your location plotted on a map for up to 60 minutes.
Whether you’re using Messenger on Android or iOS just tap the Location icon or select Location under the More icon. You’ll see a map of your current location, and tapping the blue bar will share your location for the next 60 minutes. You can choose to Stop Sharing at any time.
Facebook has tried this kind of thing before. Once upon a time every message you sent through Messenger had a location attached to it, and some bright spark built a Chrome extension plotting that data on a map. This didn’t go down well, so Facebook canned the capability.
Given this past controversy, Facebook is keen to point out that Live Location is all up to you, saying, “Sharing your location in a Messenger conversation — either continuously for an hour with Live Location or as a static point — is completely optional. You are always in control”.
Risking a PR Disaster
Facebook is taking a bit of a gamble here. The privacy implications of anything the social network does are examined with a fine-tooth comb, so it always has to err on the side of caution or risk a PR disaster. However, it does appears that participation in Live Location is entirely optional. So we can all relax, right?